US President Joe Biden has said that the federal government will protect women travelling for abortions.
Millions of women in the US lost their constitutional right to abortion in June when the Supreme Court overturned its 50-year-old Roe v Wade ruling. The verdict has paved the way for individual states to ban the process. They have become a local battleground in the fight to reverse or maintain abortion services.
Also, Google says it is taking steps to remove data from users’ location history that could be used to prosecute people for visiting US abortion clinics. In states where abortion is prohibited or restricted, women may be forced to cross state borders in parts of the country where the procedure remains legal.
In a virtual meeting with Democratic state governors, Mr Biden said he believed some US states would attempt to arrest women who crossed state borders for abortions.
The president said the government would ensure access to the pills that cause abortions in the states where it was banned.
But a federal government intervention could lead to more legal challenges that could go all the way up to the Supreme Court, Southern Methodist University political science expert Dr Matthew Wilson told the BBC, especially if states “believe the federal government”. Is actively working to break and weaken state laws”.
The overturning of Roe v Wade has sent shock waves across America.
The Supreme Court ruling ensured that pregnant women were entitled to an abortion during the first three months of their pregnancy while allowing legal restrictions and restrictions in the second and third trimesters.
Thirteen states have severely reduced or blocked access to abortion since the court’s decision.
Mr Biden said only a Democratic victory in the midterm elections would give Congress the power to restore federal abortion rights – it would go some way after November, he said.
Peter Bowes of the BBC in Los Angeles says it is feared that in states that limit abortion, police may attempt to access search history and geolocation data on the smartphones of people who plan to terminate a pregnancy are making.
With that in mind, Google says that when its systems identify visits to abortion clinics, counselling centres, domestic violence shelters or other facilities that provide “particularly personalized” services, that information will be available in the coming weeks and will start deleting.
Entries in the user’s location history will be deleted immediately after visiting a sensitive location.