Facebook has posted “abortion cancellation” ads 18.4 million times since January 2020, according to a report from the Digital Anti-Hate Center (CCDH) promoting an “unproven, unethical” and “dangerous” procedure.
Google shows ads in more than four-fifths of abortion-related searches in a number of US cities, according to CCDH research, which targets search terms like “unintended pregnancy” and “abortion pill.”
The advertisements promote an unproven theoretical use of the hormone progesterone to “reverse” the effects of taking mifepristone, the first of a pair of drugs used in medical abortion.
But according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is “a lack of medical evidence to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the treatment” and it can lead to dangerous bleeding.
Despite this, eight U.S. states require that persons seeking abortion be provided with information that claims such return is an option. The study’s authors said these laws “mainly encourage women to participate in an unmonitored research experiment.”
Imran Ahmed, CEO of CCDH, said: “It is disgusting that groups trying to undermine basic sexual and reproductive rights can spread false information to vulnerable women and girls. Worse still – Facebook and Google make money from this propaganda.
“Experts have seen ads in the past for so-called ‘abortion pill flashbacks’ for potentially deadly, unethical medical misinformation. That’s why you won’t see them on TV, reputable newspapers or websites.
“Facebook and Google should stop these ads, ban the groups and users that associate them, and donate the coins they receive to groups that protect basic sexual and reproductive rights.”
On Facebook, the platform’s own analysis shows that as many as 1.5 million users in the UK and 3 million in the Republic of Ireland may be targeted by ads promoting the process, paid for by UK and UK anti-abortion groups SPUC. Life Institute in Ireland.
Both companies’ policies should ban ads. Google has rules that prohibit advertisers from promoting “misleading information about products” and “non-government-approved products marketed to imply that they are safe or effective,” while Facebook prohibits ads targeting 13 to 13 year olds. 17-year-olds – despite the fact that a series of ads by the US Live Action group targeting women under the age of 44 were shown to at least 3,000 children under the age of 18 across the US.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We have removed many of the ads as described in the report – many of which are inactive and are months or years old – for violating our policies for offering adult products and services.”
Contacted Google for comment.