Ryan S. Houser


In the wake of the Dobbs decision, a seismic shift reverberates through the landscape of reproductive rights. As investigations into private healthcare decisions surge, states wield increasingly sophisticated tools to probe into the private lives of pregnant individuals, igniting a contentious debate on privacy and data security. The United States is entering a looming era where internet search histories, emails, text messages, and GPS data become ammunition in the arsenal of state-led investigations. Dubbed as “dragnet criminal surveillance tools,” these tactics will unleash a torrent of prosecutions, raising profound questions about the sanctity of personal information in the digital age. As the boundaries of privacy blur and the specter of Orwellian intrusion looms larger, the stage is set for a clash between legal precedent and technological innovation in the realm of reproductive justice.

This Article investigates the way in which recent court rulings and laws concerning data and privacy offer safeguards for forthcoming legal challenges post-Dobbs. With the proliferation of abortion inquiries due to state-level bans, the Fourth Amendment and Stored Communications Act offer vital protections against potential misuse of investigative methods, ensuring data and privacy rights are upheld.

This Article begins by analyzing the theoretical risks to data privacy and security post-Dobbs, illuminating potential issues through hypothetical scenarios and real-world examples. Additionally, this Article examines historical perspectives via pivotal court cases and policies on data privacy, contextualizing them within today’s landscape of protection. Ultimately, this Article, leveraging insights from both historical and contemporary viewpoints, contends that the current protective framework, grounded in the Fourth Amendment and the Stored Communications Act, serves as a safeguard against Dobbs-related challenges, particularly concerning technology-driven infringements on abortion-related matters.