Analysis

Facebook and Instagram remove posts advertising abortion pills

Facebook and Instagram, two of the largest social media platforms on the internet, have begun removing posts advertising abortion pills in the wake of Roe v. Wade‘s end.

According to the Associated Press, after the Supreme Court announced the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, people immediately began posting on both platforms ways for women to obtain abortion pills through the mail. But Facebook and Instagram almost immediately began removing them en masse. Media intelligence firm Zignal Labs told the Guardian there had been 250,000 mentions by Sunday before Meta, the parent organization for both platforms, began removing them.

NBC News affirmed this, saying by Monday, a search of terms like “abortion pills” and “mifepristone” garnered very few results.

READ: Poll: Most Americans want significant abortion restrictions, oppose abortion pills by mail

In response to people complaining about the removals on Twitter, Meta communications director Andy Stone responded that they were being removed due to their restrictions on regulated goods, and not a bias against abortion pills. “Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed,” he wrote. “Content that discusses the affordability and accessibility of prescription medication is allowed. We’ve discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these.”

 

Though the abortion pill regimen is frequently touted as being safer than Tylenol, it is not true; in reality, the abortion pill reportedly has a four times higher risk of complications than first trimester surgical abortions. Serious side effects have been documented, including uterine hemorrhaging, viral infections, sepsis, and death — along with thousands of adverse events, including deaths.*

Many of the studies claiming the abortion pill regimen is safe have ties to the abortion industry, while numerous studies found a 6% complication rate from chemical abortions. A 2021 population-based longitudinal cohort study also found that emergency room visits following a chemical abortion increased over 500% between 2002 and 2015 within the study population.

Additionally, women have called the experience traumatic and emotionally scarring.

Despite all of this, the push for women to undergo chemical abortions at home, without physician supervision or support, has continued.

*FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in women who took mifepristone. As of June 30, 2021, there were reports of 26 deaths of women associated with mifepristone since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy located outside the womb, such as in the fallopian tubes) resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal. The adverse events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of concurrent use of other drugs, other medical or surgical treatments, co-existing medical conditions, and information gaps about patient health status and clinical management of the patient. A summary report of adverse events that reflects data through June 30, 2021 is here.

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