The Lawfare Podcast: Online Speech and Section 230 After Dobbs

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, July 21, 2022, 5:01 AM

When the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the impact of the decision on the internet may not have been front of mind for most people thinking through the implications. But in the weeks after the Court’s decision, it’s become clear that the post-Dobbs legal landscape around abortion implicates many questions around not only data and digital privacy, but also online speech. One piece of model state legislation, for example, would criminalize “hosting or maintaining a website, or providing internet service, that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion.” 

This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Evan Greer, the director of the digital rights organization Fight for the Future. She recently wrote an article in Wired with Lia Holland arguing that “Section 230 is a Last Line of Defense for Abortion Speech Online.” They talked about what role Section 230’s protections have to play when it comes to liability for speech about abortion and what content moderation looks like in a post-Dobbs world.