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Employees of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, have called on the company to follow suit in expanding abortion coverage for thousands of its users and contractors. This was after companies like Apple, Target, and recently, Walmart, announced updated coverage of their health care benefits in a post-Roe country.
It has been a point of contention for many since the overturn of the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the majority of the states in the US. The right to abortion has been protected under federal laws since 1973. However, after almost five decades, the right was repealed in a shocking Supreme Court decision last June.
The union represented by Google employees released a petition to call the attention of the company regarding the matter. Signed by more than 650 workers of Google, the document strongly advised the company to refrain from collecting information about abortion seekers and share the date with law enforcement agencies.
In the petition comes the demand to have Google fix the search results that lead users to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers when they search for clinics that still allow the legal abortion procedure. The letter was addressed by the workers to Sunday Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Google has been under scrutiny lately due to its handling of key information and algorithms relating to abortion data and abortion clinic results after the Roe v Wade ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court. This was why the Google workers’ union sent the letter—to have the company use it in the advantage of pro-abortion individuals, all of whom are workers who signed the petition.
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Tech companies might not be protecting their users enough
In addition to Google, Facebook has also been subject to public pressure after Nebraskan police acquired a conversation between a mother and a daughter which is allegedly about an illegal self-administered abortion. In the wake of the event, many expressed concern over the privacy rights of social media users, questioning the applications’ security measures in protecting private conversations.
“Recently I read about Facebook handing over information that was used to arrest a user seeking abortion access and it became clear that tech companies are not going far enough to protect workers and users in a post-Roe America. If tech companies … truly want to be an ally to those looking to get an abortion, they need to refuse to share [users’] information regarding abortion searches and do their due diligence to make sure false information that could make users unsafe isn’t circulating the site,” said Bambi Okugawa, a data center technician at Google.
According to the petitioners, Google should expand the abortion benefits to all its full-time employees, including contractors. Relocation support should also be guaranteed to employees who plan to transfer to states that still endorse legal abortion processes. Google answered that it would offer these benefits the moment Roe v. Wade was outlawed by the recent court decision.
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The overturn of Roe v Wade
Last June, the US Supreme Court decided to junk the provisions in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the right to abortion in the majority of states across the US. The major dissenter, Justice Alito, said, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
In his four page opinion, Alito added, “What sharply distinguishes the abortion right from the rights recognized in the cases on which Roe and Casey rely is something that both those decisions acknowledged: Abortion destroys what those decisions call ‘potential life’ and what the law at issue in this case regards as the life of an ‘unborn human being.'”
He also noted to his dissenters: “The dissent is very candid that it cannot show that a constitutional right to abortion has any foundation, let alone a ‘deeply rooted’ one, ‘in this Nation’s history and tradition.’ The dissent does not identify any pre-Roe authority that supports such a right — no state constitutional provision or statute, no federal or state judicial precedent, not even a scholarly treatise.”