“With privacy, it’s like, once it’s out, it’s out,” Professor Michelangelo said.
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a physician and director of Woman on Waves, a nonprofit that provides resources for abortion seekers, found this to be the case when she tried to set up her own crypto wallet. “It had the same diligent requests as a normal bank account, where you have to provide ID and other information,” she said.
She could see how anonymous transactions could appeal to abortion providers, whose work could soon turn them into legal targets. But, she said, “I haven’t found a cryptocurrency where you can do that.”
Legal scholars are not convinced that cryptocurrency will protect patients in most cases. Rachel Riboche, interim dean of Temple University Beasley School of Law and author of an upcoming paper entitled “The New Abortion Battleground,” said the ban on abortion “would cover everything, whether you pay in cash or crypto.”
“If abortion is illegal in your state – it doesn’t matter if you have a surgical abortion, whether you have a drug abortion or not, even if you self-manage your abortion – if it’s illegal, it’s illegal,” said Kimberly Mucharson. That said, a dean and professor at Rutgers Law School has a law that focuses on reproductive rights. (In the first three months of this year, 22 states introduced more than 100 bans on abortion pills approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to the Guttmaker Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights.)
Still, organizations like Planned Parenthood are open about how they can raise and distribute funds.
Alexis McGill Jones, president and chief executive of the organization, said the planned parenthood was “focusing on a lot of things” in the area of cryptocurrency but would not disclose details.
“The bottom line is that all the options are on the table,” she said.