When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, getting an abortion had very little to do with communications technology.
In contrast, today, as we start experiencing the devastating impacts of the decision’s repeal, getting an abortion is tightly bound with our digital selves.
We are already seeing reports of Facebook and Instagram removing posts mentioning abortion pills, high tech surveilance of those seeking abortions, and many other ways technology is embedded in the fight over autonomy and control of our bodies.
In response, we are seeing urgent calls for folks to delete their period apps, close their Facebook accounts, de-Google their cell phones and, generally speaking, turn their online lives upside down to avoid the techno-surveillance dragnet unleashed by the recent Dobbs decision.
May First has been encouraging movements to give up our dependence on corporate and surveillance technology for years and we will continue to do so. Yet, during a period of real and present crisis, we need to favor thoughtful, intentional and well-planned strategies. Rather then cycles of repression and panic, we need to build on our history and strengths.
Now is the time to remind folx that over the last 20 years, a growing movement of organizers and technologists have been building user-driven, privacy-respecting, consentful technology platforms as well as organizations and communities to develop them.
In the spirit of solidarity, we share this ecosystem of:
movement aligned Internet providers, many that pre-date the founding of Twitter and are still going strong (May First, Riseup, Autistici, Koumbit, Greenhost, Green Net, Electric Embers, and Web Architects) just to name a few,
the fediverse, a well developed, de-centralized alternative to corporate social media (try Social.coop if you want to get started),
powerful open source, privacy respecting software geared for organizing and movement providers that host it (see Progressive Technology Project and CiviCRM),
multi-year campaigns targeting poor tech practices of corporate technology giants (see Mijente’s No Tech for ICE),
libraries of resources to help us thoughtfully consider and change how we interact with technology (see Our Data Bodies’ Digital Defense Playbook or Allied Media Project’s Consentful Tech project),
and many more examples, far too numerous to name here.
Like all collective endeavors, these projects need our love and support over the long haul. Please help spread the word - rather then just deleting an app, let’s encourage people to join an organization or try out technologies that will serve us now and down the road when we may need it even more then today.