Instagram has been blocking posts that mention abortion, at times asking users to verify their age before being able to view such posts.
In an investigation by the Associated Press, several advocacy groups found their posts hidden from public view and flagged as “sensitive content”. Hashtags related to abortion pills – including mifepristone, a medication used for over half of all US abortions – also resulted in hidden posts, NBC News found.
The company later stated that a “technical bug” was causing abortion-related content to be veiled. At the time of writing this article, the hashtags #mifepristone and #abortionpills are displaying thousands of posts on Instagram. Both were previously producing virtually no new results.
Infographics, memes, and other social media updates regarding abortion exploded after the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v Wade on Friday, which eliminates the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
Within moments of some posts offering help in procuring abortion being uploaded to Instagram and Facebook, though, both platforms had taken them down. The same was not done for posts that offered “weed” and “a gun”.
A Meta spokesperson later confirmed on Twitter that the company won’t allow pharmaceuticals to be sold or gifted on their site. Sharing information regarding such medication, however, would be. In Meta’s Transparency Center, it is written that content attempting to buy, sell or trade pharmaceutical drugs is not allowed, except when “Listing the price of vaccines in an explicit education or discussion context” and “offering delivery” by legitimate healthcare businesses.
In December 2021, it became legal to mail abortion pills, as a result of a decision by the Food and Drug Administration. Pills-by-mail are now in legal peril, as several US States are inching towards banning abortion or have already done so. Some states, like Kansas and Mississippi, do not allow abortion medications to be provided via telemedicine consultations. However, individual states cannot regulate federal mail.
The decision to overturn Roe v Wade has shaken America. Before the ruling, more than half of the women in America lived in states that are hostile to abortion rights. Now, reproductive rights are placed in further jeopardy, with about 60 percent of states having banned abortion or looking to do so. Following the devastating ruling, people across the US are fighting for reproductive justice and against the human rights violation.