Facebook apologizes for removing self-abortion profile picture
NETHERLANDS, Amsterdam, January 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The director of an abortion advocate group was incensed last Friday after Facebook removed her profile picture that provided step-by-step instructions for self-inducing an abortion. Facebook later apologized and allowed the profile picture to be reinstated.
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Waves, an organization that packs an abortion clinic into a ship and brings the procedure to mothers in countries where it is illegal, told Radio Netherlands that the profile picture was designed to “provide information on how women can safely induce an abortion using a medicine called Misoprostol.”
“The text is based on information and research from the World Health Organization. So it is really quite safe,” said Gomperts.
The instructions for what Gomperts calls a “safe abortion till 9 weeks of pregnancy” begin with a visit to a pharmacy to buy 12 tablets of Misoprostol. Gomperts encourages the pregnant mother to lie to the pharmacist saying that the tablets are for “your grandmother with arthritis.”
Gomperts’ then instructs the pregnant mother how to ingest the tablets.
“Within 4 hours you can get cramps, nausea, chills, diarrhoea, bleeding. If you soak more than 2 maxi sanitary pads per hour for more than 2 hours; if you have a fever or severe pain you have to go to a doctor (you can say you had a miscarriage).”
Facebook at first removed Gomperts’ profile picture stating that it “violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.” The company did not mention which part of the legal terms Gomperts’ profile picture violated.
Under their legal terms for safety, Facebook demands that users will not post content that is “hateful, threatening” or that “incites violence.”
Under their legal terms for protecting other people’s rights, Facebook demands that users will not “post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.”
Facebook apologized to Gomperts two days after the removal, stating that the profile picture was “not in violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and appears to have been removed in error.”
“We do apologize for the removal of this content and the subsequent warning that you received,” the company said, adding that when they “make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn’t have” they “work quickly to address it by apologizing to the people affected and making any necessary changes to our systems and processes.”
Woman on Waves said in a press release that by removing the profile picture, Facebook had “severely violated” articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the European Convention of Human Rights.
“Facebook has a social responsibility to guarantee and protect human rights,” the group said.
Gomperts has reposted her self-induced abortion profile picture and is encouraging all Facebook users that “support abortion rights to repost the message on their page.”
LifeSiteNews contacted Woman on Waves by phone but did not receive a comment by press time. LifeSiteNews also contacted Facebook by e-mail but did not receive a response by press time.