USA – Social media removes abortion information +++ Life-saving abortion will be required by law in Washington +++ Public education campaign launched on anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers”

Some social media in the US are removing abortion information online

A 59-page report by Amnesty International USA, published in 2023, analyses how access to abortion information and care via some social media are being negatively affected in the U.S. Some of the companies removing abortion-related content from their platforms by reproductive health and rights organizations, include Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. There was a reported spike in such content removal in the aftermath of the overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022.

Information on abortion pills and how to access them is reported to be the content removed most frequently. Some organizations have had their accounts temporarily suspended “for violating community guidelines” without ever being told which guidelines they have violated. Advocacy organizations, telehealth abortion providers, and reproductive health non-profits have sought greater transparency when it comes to how and why these platforms moderate abortion content, but many have remained in the dark although their content or accounts have been temporarily suspended or taken down altogether.

This has had an impact on young people in particular. Many Generation Z internet users (those born roughly between 1997 and the early 2010s) rely on social media for news and information like this.

Telehealth abortion providers have also faced issues with abortion content removal. One example is Hey Jane, a telehealth clinic that provides medical abortion care and other reproductive healthcare services. On the day after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, Hey Jane was notified that a video on their TikTok account showing abortion pills was removed because it violated TikTok’s policies on “illegal activities and regulated goods”. The group reposted the video twice more, and it was removed again both times. On June 27th, Hey Jane’s TikTok account was suspended. Hey Jane immediately appealed this decision, and their account was reinstated shortly thereafter, only to be banned again later on the same day. The account was once again reinstated, only to be banned for a third time. Eventually, their account was reinstated. Months later, in August 2022, TikTok removed another video on Hey Jane’s account that was posted in May 2022. This video shared the names of the states where Hey Jane provides telehealth services, and discussed how they were hoping to expand abortion care provision to other U.S. states. The notification they received from TikTok stated that they had violated policies on “illegal activities and regulated goods”. Hey Jane appealed the decision, but it was ultimately rejected, and they were unable to repost the video.

Note: The problem is that the basis for the removal of information is the fact that it has been made illegal. While this report rightly emphasises that access to information is an important right, it is difficult to see how this can be demanded when obtaining the service that the information is about has been criminalised. [Editor]

SOURCE: Amnesty International USA. Obstacles to Autonomy: Post-Roe Removal of Abortion Information Online. 10 June 2024


Life-saving abortion in a medical emergency will soon be required by law in Washington state, to remove any doubt

Governor Jay Inslee said the state of Washington will spell out in state law that hospitals must provide abortions if needed in a medical emergency to stabilize patients, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on whether anti-abortion states can bar abortions during some medical emergencies. There is no indication that patients have been denied emergency abortions in Washington state, but the governor said during a news conference in Seattle he wanted to remove any doubt that hospitals are required to provide those services when necessary.

SOURCE: ABC News, by Gene Johnson AP. 11 June 2024


The Healey-Driscoll Administration in Massachusetts has launched a public education campaign on the dangers of “crisis pregnancy centers”, which are anti-abortion

Campaign advertisements in both English and Spanish warning of disinformation have been circulated throughout the state since 10 June, a first-in-the-nation public education campaign. Anti-abortion centers often look like medical facilities and purport to offer the full spectrum of reproductive health care while, in fact, they aim to mislead people about their options if they are pregnant and seek to dissuade them from accessing abortion. The campaign is designed to help people understand their full range of options, directing them to with information about how to recognize anti-abortion centers and where to access unbiased, full-spectrum reproductive health care in Massachusetts.