After the supreme court leak that Roe v Wade may be overturned, people are concerned about the possibility that the data collected from people who have used or are currently using period-tracking apps could be used against them especially when they are considering an abortion. This would be especially true if the procedure is ever criminalized.
The information that is collected in these apps is very personal. It can help you understand and make informed decisions to improve their health. For instance, apps can show when a woman’s period stops, when she ovulates and when she’s pregnant.
The promising side of using period tracking apps is that people can track their menstrual cycles and all of its related data. One of the most popular apps is Flo, which has over 43 million active users. Another is Clue, which claims to have 12 million monthly users. A combined 55 million active users whose data may no longer be safe.
Following the release of a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade, concerns have been raised about how data collected by apps related to period tracking could be used to penalize individuals who might want to get an abortion.
Last year, the FTC settled with Flo, which was accused of misleading users about how it collects and uses their personal data. According to a Wall Street Journal investigation, the app would sometimes tell users that it’s their period and that they might want to get pregnant.
For those who are considering whether or not they should keep using a period-tracking app, an easy way to understand whether you should is to understand your risk by understanding the laws where you live. If you live in a state where despite what happens to Roe v Wade, abortions will remain legal, your risk may be low. On the other end, if you live in a state like Louisiana where they want to treat birth control as murder, you may have quite the high risk.
Let’s say you don’t care about risk and you want to ditch the apps, there is a quick good option for you that I am now using. I found a google excel file that you can use to track your period and it will give you predictions on your next period, ovulation, and even will send you an email alert. I found the template on Aliza Aufrichtig’s website. This template is amazing and you can save it to your phone like an app as well. With this you have more control over your data.