Hotels Face New Risks As Women Travel For Abortions

Law360 (November 16, 2022, 9:18 PM EST) — Abortion-related travel has been rising ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and hotels may get swept into criminal investigations of women who cross state lines to get abortions as laws change around the country, lawyers warn.

Hotel companies have started to examine their data-tracking practices and are preparing for potential subpoenas from prosecutors and law enforcement looking for information about guests who book overnight stays as they seek procedures outside their home states, according to hospitality and privacy lawyers.

Lindsay Harrison of Jenner & Block LLP, a litigator in the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court practices as well as leader of its hospitality industry group, said authorities may ask hotel companies for data about who their guests were, how long they stayed in a room, and what hotel managers observed on security videos.

“As abortion laws are now going to vary from state to state, people will be forced to cross borders to obtain reproductive care,” said Harrison, who counts Marriott International Inc. as a client. “If states want to target their neighboring states or companies for facilitating that travel and that care — aiding and abetting what is in that state a crime — hotels really have to be mindful that they might receive requests for evidence that people are using their hotels as part of a scheme to go across state lines to get an abortion.”

Hotels May Be Viewed as Crime Scenes

Tennessee, for example, virtually outlawed abortion with

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