WASHINGTON — Facebook and Instagram have begun promptly removing posts that offer abortion pills to women who may not be able to access them following a Supreme Court decision that stripped away constitutional protections for the procedure.
Social media postings like these are supposedly intended to aid women who live in states that have had preexisting abortion bans suddenly come into force. That’s when the high court overruled Roe v. Wade, its 1973 decision that declared access to abortion a constitutional right.
Social media platforms exploded with status updates and memes explaining how women can legally get abortion pills by mail. Some offered to send prescriptions to women in countries that have banned the practice.
Continue reading: Meet the Pharmacist Expanding Access To Abortion Pills in the U.S.
Facebook and Instagram removed some of the posts almost immediately as Americans searched for answers about abortion access. According to Zignal Labs’ analysis, general mentions of abortion pills spiked on Friday morning, along with posts that mentioned specific versions like misoprostol and mifepristone.
Zignal had already tallied more than 245,000 mentions of this nature by Sunday.
The AP took a picture of a single Instagram post by a woman on Friday. She offered to buy or forward abortion pills to her friends via mail just minutes before the court ruled against the constitutional right.
“DM me if you want to order abortion pills, but want them sent to my address instead of yours,” the post on Instagram read.
It was taken down by Instagram in a matter of minutes. Vice Media initially reported that Meta, parent of Instagram and Facebook, had taken down posts about abortion pills.
On Monday, an AP reporter tested how the company would respond to a similar post on Facebook, writing: “If you send me your address, I will mail you abortion pills.”
Within one minute, the post was deleted.
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The Facebook account was immediately put on a “warning” status for the post, which Facebook said violated its standards on “guns, animals and other regulated goods.”
Yet, when the AP reporter made the same exact post but swapped out the words “abortion pills” for “a gun,” the post remained untouched. A post with the same exact offer to mail “weed” was also left up and not considered a violation.
Federal laws make marijuana illegal, and you cannot send it by post.
After a consultation with a prescriber who has undergone training and certification, you can legally obtain abortion pills by mail.
Continue reading: Here are some facts about abortion pills post-Roe
Meta spokeswoman, in an email, pointed out that company policies forbid the sale or purchase of firearms, drug and other pharmaceutical products. However, the company didn’t explain why there were apparent inconsistencies in their enforcement of this policy.
Andy Stone, Meta’s spokesperson for marketing and communications, tweeted Monday that it would not permit individuals to sell or gift pharmaceuticals through its platform. However content sharing information about how to get pills will be allowed. Stone recognized that it was not easy to enforce this policy across all platforms. This includes Instagram and Facebook.
“We’ve discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these,” Stone said in the tweet.
Merrick Garland, attorney general, stated Friday that the states shouldn’t ban mifepristone. It is a medication that induces an abortion.
Continue reading: The Effort To Promote Abortion Pills for a Post-Roe America
“States may not ban mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy,” Garland said in a Friday statement.
Some Republicans tried to prevent their citizens from getting abortion pills by mail. In fact, some states such as West Virginia or Tennessee have banned providers from prescribing medication via telemedicine consultation.
— Sophia Tulp, New York Associated Press reporter contributed to this article.
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