Democrats ask the Supreme Court to keep abortion legal.
Members of Congress are asking that Alphabet Inc.’s Google stop “unnecessary collection and retention of people’s location data,” which they believe could be used to identify women who’ve sought abortions. This, the Democratic members argue, would be a violation of patient rights.
In a letter sent to Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., the lawmakers (who were led by Sen. Ron Wyden from Oregon) said if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and the procedure becomes illegal, Google’s “current practice of collecting and retaining extensive records of cell phone location data will allow it to become a tool for far-right extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive health care.”
The decision made in the ‘70s was to let the Constitution protect a pregnant woman’s right to choose “without excessive government restriction.”
The letter submitted by Congress members continues, “pregnancies could be surveilled, and the data shared with police or sold to vigilantes, privacy experts fear. Google, specifically, stores historical location information about hundreds of millions of smartphone users, which it routinely shares with government agencies.”
In early May, Oregon’s U.S. senators reacted negatively to the release of a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision upending Roe v. Wade.
“Five unelected justices acting as a super legislature are rolling over Americans’ rights,” Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, said at the time, adding, “We are in big trouble.”
Wyden called the draft “a five-alarm fire,” adding, “If this is the final decision, the United States will be one of a handful of countries in the world moving backwards on women’s rights. The overturning of Roe would mark a devastating loss of constitutionally guaranteed bodily autonomy and privacy for more than half of America.”
U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (Democrat) said the high court is “overstepping,” stating, “The government has no place in deciding for a woman what she chooses to do with her own body. The decision to end a pregnancy, for whatever reason, is an intensely personal decision that can be only made by a woman and her spouse, companion, minister, physician, or whatever counsel she chooses, after considering all the available options and her unique circumstance.”
He added, “This news is devastating, and overturning Roe would be a dramatic change in how the Supreme Court considers precedent. It will fuel our engagement and motivate us to protect this fundamental right. The facts have not changed – an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.”
Meta Platforms, owner of Facebook, has again reminded its employees that they cannot discuss abortion and the politics surrounding it in the workplace. Alphabet and Google have not taken an official stand on the matter. To date, should a geofence warrant be issued by law enforcement in the evident of a criminal case which asks for information regarding abortions, the companies could be compelled to comply with the request. Google said it received 11,554 geofence warrants in 2020 alone.