Facebook censorship on women’s reproductive rights

Kim Phuc just after the bombing, photo by Nick Ut

In September 2016, Facebook censored this famous 1972 photo, of Vietnamese children burnt by napalm bombing, including Kim Phuc, then a 9-year-old badly injured girl.

Facebook deleted the photo from, eg, the Facebook page of Norwegian conservative Prime Minister Ms Erna Solberg.

Now, more Facebook antics.

By Jon Queally in the USA:

May 12, 2017

Access Denied: Facebook Blocks Abortion Pill Provider’s Page for ‘Promotion of Drug Use’

‘WTF Facebook?!’ say supporters of international group that provides reproductive health information and access to abortion pills in countries where it remains illegal

As of late Thursday night, Facebook has yet to explain why it has blocked the page of a women’s health organization that provides abortion counseling and drug access to thousands of women across the globe each day. And reproductive rights advocates from around the world are not happy about it.

News that the Facebook page operated by Women on Web, which runs a global help desk for women seeking information on ending pregnancies safely and provides access to abortion pills, was first reported by its sister organization, Women on Waves, which operates a boat that travels the world providing medical care, including abortions, in places where access to such services for women is limited, highly restricted, or banned outright.

As their Facebook page remained active, Women on Waves on Thursday morning posted a message—alongside a screenshot of the notice received from Facebook which said the page had violated terms of service—to alert people to what had happened.

“Dear all,” the post reads, “our sister organization @WomenOnWeb.IF has been unpublished by Facebook under the accusation of ‘encouragement of drug use.'”

Defending its partner, the post described how the group, which is based in Amsterdam, “provides life-saving information to thousands of women worldwide” and that its page on Facebook “publishes news, scientific information and the protocols of the World Health Organization and Women on Web has answered over half a million emails with women who needed scientific, accurate information essential for their health and life.”

Supporters of the groups who commented on the post were outraged. “What the hell?” said one in reaction. Someone else added, “WTF Facebook?!”

Another suggested it was part of a larger and more troubling trend. “I’ve seen a lot of this lately,” the person wrote. “Extreme conservatives using loopholes in the fb algorithm processes to bully various pages and groups.”

Women on Web subsequently posted this message to its Twitter account:

‘Our FB page has been unpublished under the accusation of “encouraging drug use”. WoW is a reliable source of life-saving info to thousands.’

The Independent, which first reported the story, said that a Facebook spokesperson was “investigating the incident.” Later reporting by the Guardian said the social media giant did not immediately respond to its request for comment, nor was response given to requests submitted for this article.

As of this writing, the group’s Facebook page remains unavailable …

It still was at the time of making this blog post.

As the Guardian reports, this is not the first time that Women on Web has had problems with Facebook:

In January 2012, Facebook deleted the profile photograph of the group’s founder and director, Dr Rebecca Gomperts. The image contained instructions for inducing an abortion using Misoprostol. Gomperts was locked out of her account for two days after re-posting the image, but Facebook subsequently apologized and reinstated both the image and her account.

Thursday’s incident comes amid increased worries that large social media and web platforms—which have come to dominate the way digital content is shared and monetized on the web—are having an outsized and unaccountable role in how information is managed and controlled by private, for-profit corporations.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced new protocols regarding how it plans to deal with what it deems “low-quality web page experiences.” And while all people might agree they want to see less “low-quality” material or information on the web, serious concerns about censorship and bias quickly emerge when discussion moves towards what gets classified as “low-quality” and, perhaps more importantly, who gets to decide what meets that definition.

For its part, Women on Waves said it believed Facebook would rectify the situation with its sister organization before long.

“We expect Facebook will undue this action soon enough,” the group said in its post, “as access to information is a human right.”

Meanwhile on Twitter, users of one social media platform were condemning the behavior of another platform as they demanded Facebook reinstate the Women on Web page immediately.

Facebook violates privacy, Dutch privacy watchdog says: here.

Trump has dramatically expanded the “global gag rule” on abortion.

Florida religious fundamentalists want to kill women for abortions

This video from the USA says about itself:

Christians Move To EXECUTE Women For Abortions

27 September 2016

Evangelical Christians in Florida have a new idea for a ballot initiative in 2018. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

Read more here.

Big Irish women’s rights demonstration

This video from Ireland says about itself:

Protest at death of [Dr] Savita [Halappanavar], denied an abortion in Irish hospital

2,000 protested over death of Savita, denied a termination in Irish hospital. The protest took place at parliament buildings where legislators have failed for 20 years to legislate for abortion, Dublin 14th November 2012.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Dublin demo demands end to ban on abortions

Sunday 25th September 2015

TENS of thousands marched through Dublin yesterday calling for abortion rights.

Marchers carried banners calling on the Irish government to “repeal the 8th,” the amendment to the Irish constitution which gives foetuses a “right to life” deemed equal with that of pregnant women, rendering almost all abortions illegal.

The Abortion Rights Campaign said it the march was about demanding “free, safe and legal” abortion rights in Ireland.

Spokeswoman Linda Kavanagh said: “100 years on from the Easter Rising, the equality promised in the 1916 proclamation hasn’t been realised.”

Her colleague Janet O’Sullivan accused governments of “burying their heads in the sand, ignoring the urgent need and desire for change.”

Solidarity marches by pro-choice campaigners also took place across the world, including in Berlin, London and New York.

This video from Ireland says about itself:

10,000 March for Abortion Rights in Ireland, September 2015

29 September 2015

Over 10,000 march for a woman’s right to bodily autonomy in Dublin on Saturday 26th 2015. Organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign, activists from all over Ireland and across Europe came out to demand that a referendum be held to Repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution which equates the foetus with the pregnant person carrying the foetus.

Video © Paula Geraghty

Last Friday, the Polish parliament, the Sejm, approved a draft law in a first reading that provides for a near-total ban on abortion and criminalises both women and doctors involved in abortions. The bill was introduced by an ultra-right, Catholic lobby group and bans all abortion with the exception of those facing the imminent danger of death. Even underage girls who have been raped are denied a right to abortion. Women who abort face a charge of “prenatal murder” and a prison sentence of between three months and five years: here.

Terrorism in the USA

San Bernardino and Colorado Springs murderers

This picture from the USA shows on the left Syed Farook, who killed his fellow workers in San Bernardino, USA. And on the right, Robert Lewis Dear, who murdered people at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, USA. Planned Parenthood had been smeared by Fox News and other right-wingers.

The difference between these two criminals in the eyes of Fox News and other Rupert Murdoch and other right-wing media is that, on the one hand, these media, and politicians like Donald Trump, abuse the San Bernardino crime for warmongering and hatred against Muslims who have nothing to do with Syed Farook’s crime. While, on the other hand, they depict Robert Lewis Dear as an unimportant eccentric person; and don’t abuse his murders for calling for war on fundamentalist (like Dear) or other Christians, or on white people.

United States Republicans defund Planned Parenthood

This video from the USA says about itself:

Pro-Life” Terror

4 Janary 2010

Women from the Center for Reproductive Rights show the terror and intimidation they live under from anti-abortion activists.

From UltraViolet Action in the USA today:

The Senate has tried to defund Planned Parenthood again and again—but this time they used a special fast-track legislative process to ram the bill through with just 51 votes. And this bill could make it all the way to the president’s desk.

We just released a hard-hitting ad to fight back, but only had room in our budget to air it on CNN and MSNBC. Will you chip in to help get it running on NBC, ABC, and CBS as well?

Yes, I’ll chip in $5 to help stop the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Since the release of heavily edited videos in July, six states have moved to defund Planned Parenthood.2 Ohio is pushing to become the seventh.3

And while President Obama has pledged to veto the Senate-passed bill, anti-choice Republicans are once again using fear of a government shutdown to push to defund Planned Parenthood nationally.4

To stop the war on Planned Parenthood, we need to make Republicans pay a political price for these attacks. If we don’t, the attacks will never stop. And if a bill like this hits the desk of a Republican president, it will become law.

Our secret weapon in the fight to save Planned Parenthood is that millions of women—1 in 5 across America—have visited a Planned Parenthood.5 That’s why, despite months of smears and discredited accusations, 6 in 10 Americans STILL oppose defunding Planned Parenthood.6

We’ve just released a hard-hitting ad with women who rely on Planned Parenthood talking about their experiences.7 We’re counting on your donation to help make sure as many people as possible see this video. Will you chip in $5?

Thanks for speaking out.

–Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Adam, Holly, Kaili, Kathy, Onyi, Susan, Clarise, Anathea, Audine, Ryan, Shannon, Vanessa, Megan, Kaytee, and Libby, the UltraViolet Action team


1. Senate Passes Bill Repealing Key Parts of Obamacare, Stripping Planned Parenthood Funds, NBC News, December 4, 2015

2. Planned Parenthood Faces Funding Battle in the States, U.S. News & World Report, October 19, 2015

3. Ohio House passes bill defunding Planned Parenthood, Cleveland.com, November 17, 2015

4. Will there be a government shutdown this December?, CBS News, November 5, 2015

5. Planned Parenthood at a Glance, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, accessed December 4, 2015

6. NBC/WSJ Poll: 6 in 10 Oppose Defunding Planned Parenthood, NBC News, September 28, 2015

7. Domestic Terrorism is Terrorism, UltraViolet, December 4, 2015

Colorado Springs murderer Robert Lewis Dear will be delighted with this Senate decision. What he did with his terrorist gun, the present Senate majority does with their votes.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD SUES OVER UNDERCOVER VIDEOS The civil suit accuses the anti-abortion group behind the videos of “violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and committing fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording and trespassing.” [Laura Bassett, HuffPost]

Once again, a gunman has killed people for political reasons. Once again, he is described in the mainstream media using words and phrases such as: deranged, mentally disturbed, homicidal, gunman, shooter, criminal, murderer, and lone wolf. He may have been all of that, but one key descriptive word is conspicuously missing from most of the commentary: terrorist. Killing people who don’t believe what you believe in order to further your political aims is, indeed, one of the definitions of terrorism. If the suspect involved had recently arrived here from Syria (or anywhere else in the Middle East, really), would the news networks be so cautious about calling him a “terrorist”? I seriously doubt it. In fact, if that were the case, he’d likely be quickly labelled an “Islamic terrorist”: here.

Abortion Providers Are Too Scared To Even Talk About Security: here.

A Texas grand jury investigating alleged misconduct by Planned Parenthood instead indicted two operatives of an anti-abortion group that created doctored videos of the organization last year, which they claimed showed representatives of the health provider selling aborted fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood was cleared of any wrongdoing: here.

A Planned Parenthood clinic vandalized with red paint reading “Satan Den of Babykillers”: here.


United States anti-abortion anti-women terrorism

This video from the USA says about itself:

Domestic Terrorism is Terrorism

3 December 2015

Tell the Department of Justice to investigate domestic terror attacks at Planned Parenthood. Patient safety MUST be protected. Call (202) 353-1555.

In a demonstration of the backwardness and reactionary character of Australian capitalist law, a 12-year-old child from the regional city of Rockhampton was forced to apply to Queensland’s state Supreme Court recently for the right to an abortion: here.