Abortion providers and advocacy groups face new legal barriers to marketing their services

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has made a legally filled scenario For organizations that advertise abortion services or provide information about how to obtain them.

Some experts say the new mix of proposed and existing state-level laws warrant a legal battle that could implicate both ad buyers and sellers.

The biggest concern for abortion-related advertisers is the legal gray area between states that have banned various abortion procedures and those that haven’t. This is especially true when states with restrictions also have laws that may allow them to prosecute people or organizations that help residents obtain such services elsewhere or encourage lawsuits in such cases. We do.

“There’s going to be a lot of politically motivated litigation,” said Gary Kibel, partner at Davis+Gilbert LLP, a law firm specializing in advertising law. “For the marketing and advertising industries, the unfortunate challenge is that, if you’re advertising something that’s illegal, where it’s illegal, it’s risky.”

For example, if a group based in Colorado runs an ad about legal abortion services that is geo-targeted to reach residents of Texas, both the group and the ad seller could, in theory, be accused of aiding and abetting abortion. can be prosecuted for Texas Senate Bill 8. According to, Mr. Kibel said. The law prohibits abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy and allows private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against abortion providers to enforce it.

Some organizations have already put a halt to their marketing activities.

“We haven’t done any paid advertising in restricted states since the SCOTUS decision,” said Stacey Kawakami, chief of strategic communications at Femhealth USA Inc., which serves as the non-profit abortion and birth control service provider Carafem.

Similarly, the non-profit Power to Decide, which uses Google search ads to promote a tool called Abortion Finder, which helps people find providers, is closer to state laws to determine Looking at how they might affect the ability to advertise.

“Our intention is to do everything in our power to get everyone in the country talking about this device,” said Jennifer Johnson, vice president of digital and education at Power to Decide. “It’s kind of a ‘we’ll see how it goes’ moment.”

For abortion groups, the tension comes amid a dramatic increase in consumer interest.

Ms Johnson said abortion finder traffic has increased more than 10 times since May 2, when Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court’s opinion.

The average daily visit to the home page of Plan C, a group funded by the nonprofit National Women’s Health Network Inc., which provides information on access to so-called abortion pills, was more than 500 before the Texas law’s passage last year. It was 209,000 on the day of the previous month. Plan C co-founder and co-director Alyssa Wells said the Supreme Court issued its ruling.

Misoprostol, the abortion pill.


photo:

Victor R. Cavano / The Associated Press

Some groups are committed to getting their message out.

Plan C intends to follow through with a series of billboards and radio ads in one of the states that just banned abortion.

Regarding potential lawsuits, Ms Wells said: “We are ready to test that limit, not just stop providing information out of fear that it could happen.” But the advertising agency that helped Plan C organize the campaign may have to remain anonymous because of concerns about liability, she said.

Potential Health Inc., which operates as Hey Zhen and provides direct-to-consumer abortion pills and related services, will continue to spend thousands of dollars each month on Google search ads, said co-founder and development chief Gabby Izra. he said. Marketing.

“Given that only one in four people is aware that drug abortion exists, a large part of our strategy in the coming months will be to increase awareness of drug abortion and telemedicine abortion,” Ms. Izra said.

At the same time, Hey Jane only runs ads on Google and currently limits its targeting to residents of the six states in which it operates, which allow pills to be prescribed and delivered remotely: California, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and Washington.

Several groups also said that digital advertising platforms are more likely to reject both paid and organic posts that include words such as “miscarriage” and “pregnancy” in recent weeks.

Ms. Kawakami shared two carafem posts, which she said were recently censored by Instagram; One has a video of a cat explaining how medical abortion works, while another reads, “It’s okay to have more than one abortion.” Both were reinstated only after Carafem filed a complaint with Instagram parents

meta platform Inc.,

he said.

Plan C social media director Martha Dimitratou also shared photos of several posts and ads that were rejected by Facebook and Instagram for promoting the “sale or use of unsafe substances…”.

A META spokesperson said some of the ads in question were rejected because they lacked prior certification to promote prescription drugs or did not obtain the necessary pre-approval for all ads that contained socio-political commentary. . He declined to elaborate.

Ms. Kawakami said that the biggest digital marketing success of CarFame has come on TikTok. A video created in collaboration with Carefem, in which an anthropologist and influencer demonstrates how to obtain and use abortion pills, garnered more than 2.3 million biological views.

Yet TikTok banned all paid ads promoting abortion services, which it classifies as “unsuitable businesses.”

“I think it’s going to be more and more difficult for people to find advertising space,” said Mr. Kibel, a lawyer for Davis+Gilbert.

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