Firstly, safe abortion methods like the use of abortion pills are safe, approved by the FDA, and are legal to prescribe by telehealth under federal regulations. Zignal Labs, a media intelligence agency, reported that after the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, oral abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol were mentioned 75,000 and 35,000 times, respectively. Many were in search of available information on how to navigate these unsafe periods and the regulations on safe abortions. Unfortunately, entities like ours that have decided to ensure that information on safe abortions stay accessible to women face many roadblocks. Many social media content creators who post on safe abortions have had their posts taken down.
It is alarming that social media pages of organizations that provide fact base safe abortion information have been suspended or taken down at some point while people with opposing views keep their pages and posts. The disparity is quite glaring and indicates how our work as an organisation gets constantly shadowed. Plan C, a pro-choice organization, has not only had a post educating its audience on the safety of abortion pills and its availability via mail removed from based on Instagram censorship, but have had their page suspended entirely. According to the app: the post was removed for violating the sale of illegal or regulated goods guidelines. Safe2Choose, a reliable pro-choice website that provides abortion counselling also had their Youtube account suspended. Hence, safe and FDA approved abortion pills fall under the category of; illegal goods by Instagram standards.
Many have reported that Meta, the umbrella both Facebook and Instagram fall under, has been removing posts educating on how to obtain abortion pills. An AP reporter tested this by posting that he would mail the pills to whoever sent their address. The post got removed within one minute. The reporter’s Facebook account was put immediately on “warning” status for violating its standards on “guns, animals and other regulated goods.” However, when the AP reporter made the same exact post but swapped out the words “abortion pills” for “a gun and marijuana” the post remained untouched, left up and not considered a violation.
It is vital to note that Marijuana is illegal under federal law in many states in America and many other countries and is unlawful to send through the mail. Abortion pills, however, can legally be obtained through the mail after an online consultation from prescribers who have undergone certification and training.
In an email, a Meta spokesperson pointed to company policies prohibiting the sale of certain items, including guns, alcohol, drugs, and pharmaceuticals. The company did not explain the apparent discrepancies in its enforcement of that policy. Meta spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed in a tweet that the company will not allow individuals to gift or sell pharmaceuticals on its platform but will allow content that shares information on how to access pills. Stone acknowledged some problems with enforcing that policy across its platforms.
In all this it is saddening that to keep fact-based posts on safe abortions up, many organizations have had to resort to cutting through corners and finding ways around the systems of social media apps. Many pro-choice content creators on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, must spell aborti0n with a zero or write in Spanish for it to not get flagged as a breach in app regulations. It is yet to be determined if a tighter grip will be put on pro-choice engagement or if the regulations prohibiting pro-choice posts will be loosened.
Women all around the world should have access to safe abortion methods to prevent unnecessary casualties from unsafe abortions. Therefore, organizations who have taken it upon themselves to provide this service should not be prohibited by social media apps. For any extra information on how to use abortion pills, visit our website. For counseling services, contact safe2choose.