Facebook and Instagram began removing posts offering medication abortion pills to women following a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V Wade.
Within minutes of the announcement on Friday, posts began showing up on multiple social media platforms. Users were offering to purchase the medication, mifepristone and misoprostol, and provide it to women who may not have access due to state laws and regulations. Some posts explained how to legally obtain the drugs, while others were helping subvert the legal process to gain access.
General mentions of abortion pills suddenly spiked Friday morning across Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and TV broadcasts, according to an analysis by the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs. By Sunday, Zignal had counted more than 250,000 such mentions.
Meta, the parent corporation of Facebook and Instagram, began removing some of these posts almost immediately. Multiple news outlets tested the platforms’ removal and found that posts mentioning the medication were often removed within minutes, some even having their accounts restricted.
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When Gateway Pundit tested the censorship, the post was not removed, leading to some doubt about the platform’s actions to limit access to illegal activities surrounding the medication. As of this writing, the post has been active, for more than two hours, without being removed.
Meta has publicly acknowledged their efforts to thwart any illegal activity.
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed in a tweet Monday that the company will not allow individuals to gift or sell pharmaceuticals on its platform. However, he noted that the platform would allow content sharing information on how to access pills.
Stone acknowledged some problems with enforcing that policy across its platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) June 27, 2022
“We’ve discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these,” Stone said in the tweet.
Abortion pills can legally be obtained through the mail after an online consultation from providers who have undergone certification and training.
Medication Abortion now accounts for about 54% of all abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“Medication abortion can be completed outside of a medical setting… in the comfort and privacy of one’s home,” the Guttmacher Institute said. “Pills can be provided at a clinic or delivered directly to a patient through the mail.”
The FDA authorized using two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, to induce an abortion through ten weeks of gestation. However, like traditional abortion procedures, the method is beginning to face opposition.
Louisiana passed legislation imposing fines and jail sentences for those who mail abortion pills to the state’s residents.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday that states should not ban medication used to induce an abortion.
“States may not ban mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy,” Garland said in a Friday.