In 2020, Indiana-based obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Caitlyn Bernard received a chilling warning – the FBI had uncovered a kidnapping plot targeting her daughter. As a board-certified doctor, Bernard’s job involved providing abortion care services. However, due to the threats against her family, Bernard considered no longer performing terminations, later noting she was concerned her movements could be tracked1.

Bernard’s story is not unique. Healthcare workers who provide assistance to those who wish to terminate a pregnancy have long been the focus of anti-abortion extremists who often foment their views online through forums and alternative social media. 

In 2009, Scott Philip Roeder shot dead Kansas physician, Dr. George Tiller. At the time of his death, Tiller was wearing body armor – something he had done regularly since 1998 when the FBI advised he was being monitored by an anti-abortion militia.2

Abortion After the Fall of Roe v. Wade

In 1973, the case of Roe v. Wade famously saw the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling that women had a legal right to abortion until the point of fetal viability, which at the time was about 28 weeks. Over the decades since, that number has rolled back to about 23 to 24 weeks because of scientific advancements.

With the recent SCOTUS decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, both the outcome of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which was decided in 1992, are now void. Women in the U.S. no longer have a constitutional right to abortion care. Instead, individual states can mandate such services – including whether they are even offered at all.

Monitoring Online Discourse – When Online Threats move to the Real World

The debate over abortion in America is far from over. Therefore, it’s almost inevitable that those who provide abortion services – or even give support to those seeking such treatment – will continue to face risks to their safety. In a climate that is only becoming more charged over the abortion debate, it’s feasible many others will rapidly find themselves at the center of unwanted attention and innuendo.

iThreat developed SignalAlert to help people and organizations monitor the web in real-time, ensuring they can quickly see when they’re becoming the subject of discussion. By scouring all corners of the internet, iThreat provides entities the comfort of mind knowing who is saying what and just how far they will go.

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1 https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/15/indiana-caitlin-bernard-doctor-abortion
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_George_Tiller

About iThreat

About iThreat

Founded in 1997, iThreat has assisted hundreds of clients with thousands of internet monitoring and investigations, including multiple successful multinational law enforcement operations.

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About iThreat