Censorship of Life-Saving Treatment
One of the curious aspects of the abortion debate in the United States is the disconnect between public opinion on abortion, and the position of many of our most powerful individuals, institutions, and corporations.
Take the recent Texas Heartbeat Law. If you were to read much of the reporting in the mainstream media, you would likely walk away with the impression that the Heartbeat Law is an indefensibly extreme law that is way out of step with public sentiment on abortion.
However, a recent Rasmussen poll of likely U.S. voters found that more people support the law (46%) than oppose it (43%). In other words, not only is this law not a fringe law supported only by a subset of extremists, but it is also actually popular with voters.
And yet, simply for expressing support for the law – i.e., something that a plurality of the U.S. population supports – one CEO of a gaming company was forced to resign. His resignation, of course, was just one example of a much broader reality. While it is common to hear popular entertainers, media personalities, and CEOs of large corporations express support for “progressive” causes or viewpoints, any such individual who would dare publicly support a socially conservative position is promptly hounded out of polite society, even if their view happens to be widely shared by U.S. citizens.
Similarly, many large corporations have no problem whatsoever leveraging their enormous economic power to influence politics on social issues…so long as the influence is in a more “progressive” direction. In 2016, for instance, corporations like Apple, IBM, NIKE, and many others, infamously banded together, voicing their strong opposition to North Carolina’s “bathroom bill”, which required people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex. It didn’t matter whether the law was popular with the public, or even whether their own employees supported the law. The woke progressives at the helm in these corporations felt perfectly comfortable using the corporation to coerce the state into getting the result they wanted.
However, if any corporation should dare support a socially conservative cause, no matter how popular it might be with the public, they will inevitably be branded as “haters” in the press. Many of them, alas, will back down under the pressure, retreating to a position of “neutrality” – a position that their progressive counterparts feel no similar obligation to adopt.
Tech Giants Block Abortion Reversal Ads
These reflections are prompted by a disturbing recent decision by Google and Facebook to ban life-saving ads from the pro-life group Live Action.
In this article, Live Action reports that ever since May they had been running ads on the two platforms, targeting women who were looking for information on reversing medical abortions. According to Live Action, those ads had sent thousands of women to a life-saving hotline, where they could obtain information about how they might be able to save the life of their unborn baby, even after starting the abortion pill process.
A drug-induced (i.e., medical) abortion requires two types of drugs. The first, Mifepristone, blocks the hormone progesterone, which renders the mother’s uterine lining inhospitable to her unborn child, causing the child to die. The second drug, Misoprostol, is administered one or two days later, and causes the mother’s uterus to contract, thus expelling the dead body of her child.
However, several years ago some pro-life doctors hypothesized that if a woman changed her mind about the abortion after she took the first drug, they could still save her child if they administered large doses of progesterone. After being contacted by women who regretted starting the abortion process, they were able to test out this theory, and found that it seemed to work, with many children being born perfectly healthy despite their mothers having started the abortion process.
Since then, thousands of women have undergone the abortion pill reversal process. According to one group of doctors that specializes in the procedure, the process seems to work about 68% of the time. According to Live Action, as many as 2,500 children may have been saved thanks to the reversal treatment.
These days, a growing number of abortions (about 40% in the States) are performed using Mifepristone and Misoprostol, which are thus a huge source of income for the abortion industry. Many abortion supporters have been agitating to make abortion drugs far easier to obtain, even by mail-order over the internet, to do an end-run around the growing number of pro-life state laws.
Providing a Parachute
Naturally, the fact that so many thousands of women have contacted pro-life doctors seeking to reverse their abortion is a deeply uncomfortable reality for the abortion industry.
The abortion industry would have us believe that women who get abortions are simply exercising their “autonomy” and are overwhelmingly happy and relieved when the abortion is over. Clearly, however, the reality is far more complicated than that. Studies have consistently found that many women seeking abortions report some degree of coercion. Other women are simply ambivalent – torn as to what they should do.
Many of them, evidently, find themselves deeply regretting their decision within moments of beginning the abortion process.
This striking reality reminds me of a video I saw last year about a man, Kevin Hines, who survived a suicide attempt after jumping off the Golden Gate bridge. As he told it, the very instant he jumped, he suddenly realized that he desperately wanted to live. In the video, Hines also describes how, on the bus on the way to the bridge, he had hoped that somebody – anybody – would reach out to him, and ask him how he was doing. Nobody did, and so he jumped.
What Live Action is doing by running ads reaching out to women who have started the abortion process, is being the person that Hines needed – the person who is asking women: “How are you doing? Are you sure you want to go through with this?”
And what they have found is that, for many women, the answer is “no.” They thought they did. They took that first pill. But like the act of jumping off the bridge, taking that first pill concentrated their attention, and made them suddenly realize that this is not what they want at all. That they wish they had a parachute. That they wish they could go back and start over.
For some of those women, there is a parachute. They can go back. They can still save the lives of their children. And for those women, the abortion reversal process has been a gift from God, giving them – and their children – a second chance.
Fighting the Anti-Life Juggernaut
Now, thanks to Google and Facebook, however, many of those women will not find the resources they need. They may well go to Google specifically to search for information about how to reverse their abortion. But whereas in the past, they might have seen Live Action’s ads right away, now they will have a much harder time finding what they’re looking for.
At the same time, naturally, Google has no problems allowing abortion facilities to advertise medical abortions. Want dangerous drugs to kill your child? No problem. Google’s on it. Want treatments to save your child? Well, no, that’s dangerous and “misleading” medical information that Google needs to protect women from.
In a statement, Live Action President Lila Rose blasted Google’s decision to pull the ads, accusing them of siding with “extremist pro-abortion political ideology.” “They aren’t hiding their bias anymore,” she said. “Google’s censorship baldly reveals that the corporation is in the pocket of the abortion industry.”
“By restricting scientific information related to abortion pill reversal and other life-saving options, while accepting paid ads promoting life-ending abortions, Google has chosen to operate by an outrageously dishonest and blatant double standard. The consequence is devastating – more women and girls will be marketed abortions through Google platforms, without also being offered life-affirming options.”
“Google,” said Rose, “must apply fairness and uniformity to its policy and allow Live Action and pro-life partners back on its ads platform.”
Frankly, I’m not holding my breath that Google will reverse its decision any time soon. However, we can all still do our part to overcome this tech censorship, by sharing information about abortion pill reversals with our friends and family.
For the moment, the ban on these platforms seems to apply primarily to paid ads. So, why not post about it on your social media feeds? Or why not ask your church pastor to put information about the process on your church website, or in the weekly bulletin?
One of the most remarkable things about the pro-life movement is precisely the fact that we have accomplished so much – that we have passed thousands of pro-life laws, helped countless women, and have helped reduce abortions to historic lows – despite the death-grip of anti-life ideologues on so many of our public institutions and information gatekeepers. This just goes to show that while tech juggernauts like Google and Facebook may try to restrict access to the truth, the truth will prevail.
It is deeply frustrating that Google and Facebook would crack down on life-saving information, bowing to the wishes of abortion activists. But we pro-lifers are experts at grassroots activism. There are other ways to reach women.
Go to reverseabortionpill.com to find out more, and to learn about ways to help spread information about this life-saving process.
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Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.