Friday, September 29, 2023

The cognitive dissonance of seeing Roe .’s end unfold online

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Throughout the day, Weddington and her staff have been pumping reporters for information, she later wrote in her 2013 book. A matter of choice. She found a lawyer friend who could go to the Supreme Court to pick up a copy of the advice and read her “the important parts,” but Weddington had to give interviews before she could read it herself. They worked with the phones to get the news to those who had been part of the effort; they couldn’t reach the woman known as Jane Roe to tell her in person. The next morning, Weddington woke up early to pick up all the major newspapers and read about her own business. She received a telegram from the Supreme Court. “Roe’s verdict against Wade has been partially affirmed and partially reversed today,” it read. “Airmail openings.” Paper copies arrived a few days later.

On June 24, 2022, there were no telegrams announcing the decision in dobbs-they hardly exist anymore. The Center for Reproductive Rights tweeted The Opinion at 10:11am The phone may still be the way you heard about the decision of six judges, but now the phone could also give an instant voice to millions whose rights were reversed with their ruling. Accounts on Twitter like @AbortionStories, run by the group We Testify, collected personal stories from people who have had an abortion. All in all, according to a report from a Tufts University research initiative, there were 1.8 million negative Twitter mentions of the decision. Those whose rights were stripped did not wait for the news media, with their professional legal commentators expressing their views on what they called “a very dark day in America”, to give a face to their future.

The weeks after dobbs have only made it clearer that the war on abortion is also a war on information.

The phone we got the news on was the same device that allowed us to help someone we’ve never met before to a state where abortion is still legal. On the day of the ruling, the National Network of Abortion Funds reported $3 million in new donations across the 97 member funds, from 33,000 new donors, even though the website briefly crashed that morning. The phone was how we learned where we can still get an abortion, through services like INeedAnA.comand through Plan Cwho shares information about self-administered abortions with pills — a mifepristone and four misoprostols — that can still be ordered online.

But if anything, the weeks after? dobbs have only made it clearer that the war on abortion is also a war on information. Because the phone, groups like Digital Defense Fund have advised, poses security risks: exposing our browsing history, our private messages, our location data to platforms and law enforcement. Here’s What Can Make Abortion Riskier Afterwards roe. The otherwise safe procedure itself is no more dangerous. But without roethe tools people use to quickly share information and resources—the ways we protect each other—have made themselves dangerous.

Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist, author and filmmaker.

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