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Alphabet, Google’s parent company, employees have urged the company to follow suit in expanding abortion coverage for thousands of its users and contractors. This came after companies such as Apple, Target, and, most recently, Walmart announced updated coverage of their health-care benefits in a post-Roe world.
The overturn of the landmark Roe v Wade case, which legalizes abortion in the majority of US states, has been a point of contention for many. Since 1973, federal laws have protected the right to abortion. However, in a shocking Supreme Court decision last June, the right was repealed after nearly five decades.
The union, formed by Google employees, created a petition to draw the company’s attention. The document, signed by over 650 Google employees, strongly advised the company to refrain from collecting information about abortion seekers and sharing the data with law enforcement agencies.
The petition requests Google to rectify the search results that leads users to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers when they look for clinics that still allow the legal abortion procedure. The workers addressed their letter to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Google has recently come under fire for its handling of key information and algorithms relating to abortion data and abortion clinic results after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v Wade decision.
Not enough protection for social media users
In addition to Google, Facebook has come under scrutiny after Nebraskan police obtained a conversation between a mother and her daughter about an allegedly illegal self-administered abortion. Following the event, many people expressed concern about social media users’ privacy rights, calling into question the applications’ security measures for protecting private conversations.
According to a data center technician at Google, “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.”
Google, according to the petitioners, should extend abortion benefits to all full-time employees, including contractors. Employees who plan to transfer to another state that still supports legal abortion should be provided with relocation assistance. Google responded that it would provide these benefits once Roe v Wade was ruled unconstitutional by the recent court decision.
The landmark case of Roe v. Wade
Last June, the United States Supreme Court decided to reverse the provisions in the landmark Roe v. Wade case that guaranteed the right to abortion in the majority of states across the country. Justice Alito, the major dissenter, stated, “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.”
Alito added in his four-page opinion: “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.'”
“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.”
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