The United States Supreme Court has overturned federal legal protections for the right to an abortion that have been in place nearly 50 years since the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The reversal is controversial as Roe v. Wade had for years been considered settled as “the law of the land,” but the events of recent years have changed the entire legal landscape in a way that will likely have a decades-long impact.
As described by the Associated Press:
“The ruling, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.”
When the news broke on Friday morning, there was an immediate and immense surge of news readership.
As seen in Topic Insights, part of the Taboola Newsroom real time audience analytics platform, pageviews on articles about the Supreme Court increased by a factor of 10 in less than an hour.
The video above showing the 8-hour replay feature of Topic Insights illustrates how traffic went from around 500,000 in the 10 am hour to over 5 million by 11 am for the Supreme Court topic.
Topic Insights uses an AI system called Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to identify the topics of all the articles from Taboola’s many news publisher partners. We then aggregate the page views to each of those articles by topic, which in a sense provides a trending topic indicator reflecting the interests of US news readers.
Without the protections provided by Roe v. Wade, each state can now decide whether or not to prohibit the right to an abortion – 13 states already plan to do so.
The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion, and 13 states already have laws that ban abortion in the event of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Another half-dozen states have near-total bans or prohibitions after 6 weeks of pregnancy. https://t.co/VTLTK7zLWk pic.twitter.com/fwMM2CEOzB
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 24, 2022
While breaking news often brings increased readership, the immediacy and magnitude of the spike seen in Topic Insights helps measure the impact the decision is likely to have on people.
This certainly isn’t the end of the story.
We can expect abortion rights to remain in the news in the coming months as a Democrat-controlled Congress attempts to codify the protections from Roe v. Wade in law. Though this will likely prove difficult with Senate Republicans holding enough seats to slow down or halt any legislative efforts.
We’ll be monitoring readership trends related to this news for more insight into how it is impacting everyday people in the coming months and beyond.
Taboola Newsroom is an editorial insights tool we provide at no cost to Taboola’s news publisher partners. Feel free to reach out to @franberkman with any questions or if you’d like to use our data for your research or reporting.