A Forgotten 1990s Law Could Make It Illegal to Discuss Abortion Online

Source: The New Republic
by Melissa Gira Grant

“[Q]uietly sitting on the books, where it’s been for nearly three decades, is a law that explicitly makes it a crime to discuss abortion online. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major attempt by Congress to define what would be lawful on the internet. The act includes a provision that criminalizes discussing abortion, with potential punishment of up to five years in jail, $250,000 in fines, or both. No one has ever been charged with violating this provision of the law. … Attorney General Janet Reno informed Congress that her department would not defend the constitutionality of the provision, nor would it be enforced. To date, the DOJ has not changed its policy on enforcing the ban. But since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, much of the previously established legal terrain on abortion now appears uncertain.” (08/01/22)