Skip to main content

Roe v. Wade is making women delete period tracking apps: Here’s why

Period tracking apps are an incredibly convenient way for people who get a period to be able to do exactly what these apps are called — track their periods. Whether these apps are used to predict and prepare for the timing of menstruation, predict ovulation, plan for a potential pregnancy, or to be used simply as a tool to track potential period symptoms, period tracking apps have been widely adopted and used by people who menstruate.

Since the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade case, removing abortion from constitutional protection and empowering each state to enact its own abortion laws, people who menstruate are being encouraged to delete their period tracking apps immediately. Keep reading if you’re confused about why you should delete your period tracking app right now and what you should use instead.

woman deleting period tracker app from her phone
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What are the potential issues with period tracking apps?

As a result of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and many states already criminalizing abortion, people are being encouraged to delete their period tracking apps so that there is no way for the government to know if there’s a chance they may be pregnant (and in turn accessing any form of illegal abortion.) Author Jessica Khoury recently went viral for simply tweeting, “Delete your period tracking apps today.”

Delete your period tracking apps today.

— Jessica Khoury (@jkbibliophile) June 24, 2022

Privacy experts are understandably concerned about the potential breach of data collected by many of these apps now that abortion has been criminalized in many states. “We’re very concerned in a lot of advocacy spaces about what happens when private corporations or the government can gain access to deeply sensitive data about people’s lives and activities,” Lydia X. Z. Brown, a policy counsel with the Privacy and Data Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology told NPR. “Especially when that data could put people in vulnerable and marginalized communities at risk for actual harm.”

Many are concerned that information stored in period tracker apps like Flo could be used as evidence if a person was to be prosecuted for obtaining an abortion in a state where it has now been criminalized. “I do think that we are facing a future in which the data collected by period-tracking apps could be used either as a dragnet to identify women who may have had an abortion or as evidence that a woman has had an abortion in a future in which seeking out or having an abortion is criminalized, which is something anti-abortion advocates have been eager to do,” Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told TechCrunch.

How to delete your period tracking app

While people are being encouraged to delete their apps, it seems it’s not quite as simple as that. For apps like Flo, you need to request that your data be deleted as simply deleting the app won’t remove the information you have provided in the past.

an important note on this: DELETING THE APP DOES NOT DELETE THE DATA — you must request for your data to be wiped

I successfully had mine wiped from Flo last month. details in thread below

— ❀ sarah ❀ (@dabeanqueenn) June 24, 2022

European-based period tracking app Clue released a statement addressing Americans’ fears about these apps after the Supreme Court vote. “Given the increasing criminalization of abortion in the U.S., we understand that many of our American users are worried that their tracked data could be used against them by U.S. prosecutors. It is important to understand that European law protects our community’s sensitive health data,” Newsweek reports. Flo also addressed the controversy surrounding the privacy concerns stating that they will soon be releasing an ‘anonymous mode’ to help their users maintain privacy and anonymity.

You deserve the right to protect your data.

— Flo Period Tracker (@flotracker) June 24, 2022

The Electronic Frontier Foundation released a video giving people some important tips on how to keep yourself safe online, including compartmentalizing, knowing when to leave your phone at home, how to turn off Ad ID, and more.

These are all great ways people can help ensure they keep themselves and their information secure and private.

What are the options?

If you are understandably leery about using period tracking apps but still want to be able to track your cycle, whether to predict ovulation or simply know when you will be getting your period, there are other ways you can track your cycle without exposing your private information online.

While there are some apps that claim they won’t sell your information, “any app that is collecting sensitive information about your health or your body should be given an additional level of scrutiny,” Evan Greer, director of the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, told NPR.

  • Use pen and paper: For many, simply using a notebook, printed calendar, or day planner to track their period may become the most secure form of period tracking.
  • Use a spreadsheet: Others may choose to create a basic spreadsheet, as long as that spreadsheet doesn’t get backed up to a cloud server.
  • Use an ovulation predictor test: For those who are using period tracking apps to predict ovulation in the hopes of getting pregnant, there are many over-the-counter ovulation predictor tests and strips that can be bought as an alternative.
  • Download a chart: There are also many charts you can download online to manually track your cycle for any purpose you may have.

Obviously, the decision of whether or not to delete your period predictor app may depend on where you live, but for those who live in a state that has outlawed abortion, you may feel safer protecting your privacy by deleting your period tracking app and requesting that all your personal information be wiped as well. Sadly at this point, the safest alternative seems to be using a good old pen and paper and tracking your period manually.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelli Catana
Kelli is a freelance writer who has covered the world of entertainment, pop culture, parenting, and lifestyle for various…
Can these methods really help predict your baby’s gender? Get the scoop here
Find out if these baby gender predictors are accurate
A couple holding a gender reveal balloon

Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in a person's life and one that involves making a lot of decisions. Before you even get pregnant, you may have already decided if you're going to find out the sex of your baby or let it be a surprise. Some people want to know in advance so they can plan accordingly, while others are happy to wait until the baby arrives to find out if they are having a boy or a girl.
Regardless of how you feel about the subject of baby gender predictors, people are going to share their opinions on whether you're having a boy or a girl, and the reasons for those opinions! So can those old wives' tales and different methods of gender predicting really help tell you your baby's sex? Maybe, or maybe not! Let's explore the different ways to determine a baby's gender.

When it comes to determining the sex of your unborn baby, the ultrasound is the gold standard. Throughout any person's pregnancy, they will undergo a series of ultrasounds to ensure the baby is growing accordingly, and an ultrasound technician can typically determine the baby's sex during an anatomy scan anywhere between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Read more
A missed period doesn’t automatically mean you’re pregnant, but here’s what could be going on
Have a missed period but not pregnant? There are other reasons for changes in your cycle to know about
A woman smiling into the camera

If you are in your childbearing years and miss a period, your first thought is wondering if you could be pregnant. That's not always the case. There are other reasons for a missed period to be aware of, so don't automatically jump to buy a pregnancy test. Know you're not pregnant? Go through this list of other possibilities for the skip.
You are stressed
Missed period, but not pregnant? Have you been stressed lately? Stress does weird things to your body. For women, it causes an imbalance of hormones which can affect your period. Constant stress messes with your hypothalamus, which regulates your period. Long-term stress could lead to illnesses and a change in weight, which would also cause you to skip periods or stop them altogether. Find ways to regulate yourself, such as meditation, exercise, reading, or other hobbies that relax and calm you down.
Severe weight change
Speaking of a change in weight caused by stress, a drop in weight could cause skipped periods. When your body fat is too low, your body won't produce the hormones to have a period. Once your body fat is at a normal level, your periods will become regular again.

It works the other way, as well. If you gain a considerable amount of weight in a short time, you produce too much estrogen, which results in irregular periods. If you're on a journey to change your weight, make the plan safe and healthy, so you don't lose or gain too much weight too fast.
Certain health issues
There are certain chronic illnesses that could mess with your cycle. Diseases like diabetes, Cushing syndrome, Asherman's syndrome, celiac disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome are all capable of long-term missed periods or an irregular cycle. Illnesses and diseases that affect your metabolism, thyroid, blood sugar, body fat, or hormones, should all be considered as a reason if you miss a period.

Read more
A new study says pregnant women should do this before bed
Pregnancy tip: Dim lights before bed to help reduce risk of gestational diabetes
Pregnant woman sleeping on her side

Most pregnant women take their health very seriously. They work hard to make sure they're eating well and staying active to help grow the healthiest human possible and avoid any issues that could impact their pregnancy. One of those issues is gestational diabetes. The CDC reports that anywhere between 2% and 10% of those tested will develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.

While eating a balanced diet is a big factor and a common pregnancy tip in preventing gestational diabetes, a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Maternal Fetal Medicine suggests that prolonged light exposure at night can also increase a pregnant person's chance of developing this potentially harmful condition.
Turn off the lights earlier
The study showed that of the 741 women involved in the study, those who developed gestational diabetes had a greater exposure to light in the 3 hours before bed than those who didn't. "Our study suggests that light exposure before bedtime may be an under-recognized yet easily modifiable risk factor of gestational diabetes," Dr. Minjee Kim, lead author of the study out of Northwestern University, said in a statement.

Read more