If you are using technology to track your period, and abortion is even a remote possibility, delete your period tracking apps. Now. Why? Because depending on what state you live in, the data could be used against you, or someone who might help you get an abortion, in a court of law. Even applications for scheduling appointments for abortion care, like the one on the Planned Parenthood website, have been implicated as possible modes for private data to be used against people.
These developments got me thinking about my own research — which has long been focused on women’s health — in a post-Roe United States. Our lab makes diagnostic tools for sexually transmitted infections that can be used outside of traditional health clinics. We are also working on wearable devices that could track a person’s fertility by continuously monitoring hormones involved in the menstrual cycle. These devices have obvious uses for people struggling with infertility, or who simply want to optimize their chances of getting pregnant. They also have the potential to be weaponized and used as “evidence” of when or how long someone was pregnant.