Advance Notice: Briefs

Facebook takes down Planned Parenthood post about medication abortion

By: - August 22, 2022 3:11 pm
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was back before Congress on Wednesday. Last year, as seen here, he testified before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

After Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI) shared an article on Facebook earlier this month about where to get abortion medication online, it wasn’t long before Meta, Facebook’s parent company, took the post down. 

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, abortion has become illegal in a number of states. However, abortion is still legal in Michigan, albeit on somewhat shaky ground as Democrats aim to enshrine the right to abortion access through lawsuits and a ballot proposal

“The Supreme Court cast our nation into an abortion access crisis when they discarded half a century of precedent and opened the door for politicians to pass sweeping abortion bans. Millions of Americans are now scrambling to find information about the legal status of abortion in their state and how to access care. Social media corporations like Meta are piling on to the crisis by removing content related to medication abortion and other services,” PPMI spokesperson Ashlea Phenicie said. 

In a notice to PPMI, Meta said the post violated Facebook’s community standards and restricted the post to only allow “people who manage Planned Parenthood of Michigan” to see it.

“It’s disturbing that providers like Planned Parenthood are restricted in what information we can communicate to our patients and supporters on platforms like Facebook and Instagram,” Phenicie said. “Meanwhile anti-abortion influencers face few consequences when spreading viral misinformation about abortion and other reproductive health services.”

On June 27, just days after Roe fell, Andy Stone, Facebook policy communications director, acknowleged that the site was taking down abortion medication-related posts. 

“Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed,” Stone tweeted. “Content that discusses the affordability and accessibility of prescription medication is allowed. We’ve discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these.”

According to this statement, PPMI’s post was wrongly removed from the social media platform. 

Earlier this month, Facebook was under fire for turning over to police messages between a mother and her daughter about an illegal abortion in Nebraska. 

Meta did not respond to a request for comment on the PPMI post, but told the Advance they would “investigate further.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.

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