RightsCon 2023: Protecting Abortion Online: Tools and Strategies to Counter Digital Suppression

Tuesday, June 6th, 2023: RightsCon Costa Rica 

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, a surging number of people are searching for abortion-related information online. Concurrently, Big Tech companies and governments are suppressing accurate abortion information, which prevents millions of people worldwide from accessing critical healthcare and having complete control over their own bodies. Just when the pro-abortion movement needs tech to step up to ensure our right to accurate health care information, the threats of digital suppression and disinformation are only increasing. 

This session is facilitated by Amnesty International, Center for Intimacy Justice, Reproaction, Women on Web, and PLAN C. 

Download our workshop handout here

Useful readings + resources:  

    1. Reproaction Webinar - Big Tech is Failing Abortion | Reproaction 
    2. Reproaction Webinar - Holding Big Tech Accountable for Suppressing Abortion (reproaction.org)
    3. Reproaction Preliminary report - RightsCon Pre-Reading
    4. Center for Intimacy Justice 2022 Report on Meta's rejection of women's health advertisements
    5. Spanish court orders unblocking of Women on Web website
    6. Virtual Conversation: Why digital rights are reproductive rights?


Examples of abortion content suppression: 

Content suppression is an issue that reproductive health and rights organizations face across a variety of platforms. Organizations often have to devote ample amounts of time and resources to get content reinstated when it is mistakenly removed by content moderation mechanisms. They must also come up with creative ways to avoid censorship in the first place, like spelling “abortion” as “ab0rtion” to avoid their content being flagged by automated systems that scan text for “sensitive” language. It is critically important for organizations to be able to provide medically accurate education to users online, and the widespread content suppression that they face limits their ability to reach people seeking information. 

Download the PDF with examples of digital suppresion here

If you are interested in getting in touch with us about this issue, or if you would like to share examples of content suppression your organization has encountered, please contact:

  • Jane Eklund (JEklund@aiusa.org) for abortion-related content examples (posts censored that discuss how/where to access abortion, information on medication abortion or abortion pills, general discussion of abortion, etc.) 
  • CIJ (Research@intimacyjustice.org) for all other sexual and reproductive health content examples


How you can help:

  1. Spread the word! Download and share our List of 4 Demands here.
  2. Follow @accountabletech, the account advocating for structural reforms to our information ecosystem to foster a healthier democracy.
  3. Follow @abortionpostsmonitor, Shout Your Abortion's Instagram account dedicated to tracking the removal of Meta posts related to abortion/reproductive health. 
  4. Sign the CIJ-led petition calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Meta’s rejections of women’s health advertisements here (petition being posted with launch date TBC).
  5. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on all things digital suppression, and our efforts to push for more transparency and accountability from Big Tech here.
  6. Follow @amnesty, @abortionpil, @intimacyjustice, @reproaction, and @plancpills
  7. For any additional questions and to connect with us, please email us at rightscon@womenonweb.org