Instagram and Facebook Removes Content That Promotes Abortion Pills

Facebook and Instagram have begun deleting postings that provide abortion drugs to women who may not be able to acquire them.
Instagram and Facebook Removes Content That Promotes Abortion Pills
Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

Following a Supreme Court ruling that removed constitutional safeguards for the procedure, Facebook and Instagram have begun deleting postings that provide abortion drugs to women who may not be able to acquire them.

Such social media posts are meant to assist women living in places where pre-existing abortion-ban legislation went into force on Friday. That is when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion access a fundamental right.

Memes and status updates showing how women might legally purchase abortion drugs

Memes and status updates showing how women might legally purchase abortion drugs by mail proliferated on social media. Some even offered to ship the prescriptions to ladies in states where the surgery is now prohibited.

Almost immediately, Facebook and Instagram began eliminating some of these postings, just as millions of people throughout the United States were looking for answers on abortion availability. According to an investigation by media intelligence firm Zignal Labs, general mentions of abortion pills, as well as those citing particular variants such as mifepristone and misoprostol, abruptly jumped Friday morning across Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and TV broadcasts.

Zignal had recorded almost 250,000 such references by Sunday.

An Instagram post from a woman offering to buy or send abortion medication over the mail

The Associated Press got a snapshot on Friday of an Instagram post from a woman offering to buy or send abortion medication over the mail, just minutes after the Supreme Court voted to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion.

"DM me if you want to get abortion pills but want them shipped to my address rather than yours," the Instagram post stated.

It was quickly removed from Instagram. On Monday, Vice Media revealed that Meta, the parent company of both Facebook and Instagram, was removing postings on abortion drugs.

An AP reporter tested the company's response to a similar Facebook post on Monday, writing: "If you provide me your address, I will deliver you abortion drugs."

Within one minute, the post was withdrawn.

The Facebook account was instantly placed on "warning" for the post, which Facebook said broke its policies on "guns, animals, and other regulated commodities."

However, when the AP reporter made the same post but substituted the words "abortion pills" for "a gun," the post was not deleted. A similar offer to mail "marijuana" was likewise left up and was not judged a violation.

Marijuana is forbidden under federal law, and sending it over the mail is also unlawful.

Abortion pills, on the other hand, maybe lawfully ordered via the mail following an online consultation with certified and trained prescribers.

A Meta spokesman referred to corporate standards that forbid the sale of certain commodities, such as weapons, alcohol, narcotics, and medications, in an email. The corporation did not explain the apparent inconsistencies in its policy enforcement.

However, some Republicans have already attempted to prevent their constituents from receiving abortion pills by mail, with states such as West Virginia and Tennessee forbidding clinicians from dispensing the prescription via telemedicine consultation.

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