YouTube accused of censoring 'lifesaving' abortion information

The videos detailed how to safely and effectively perform an abortion using drug Mifepristone.
The videos detailed how to safely and effectively perform an abortion using drug Mifepristone. Photo credit: Getty

A pro-choice advocacy group has accused YouTube of censoring lifesaving abortion information.

Women on Waves claims YouTube removed their video channels containing animations with information about safe and effective ways to perform an abortion with medicines.

The Dutch non-profit organisation was created in 1999 to bring reproductive health services, particularly non-surgical abortion services, to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws.

"By censoring information on safe abortion, YouTube may contribute to the morbidity and mortality of unsafe abortion in a manner inconsistent with human rights under international law," the organisation wrote in a press release.

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year and are a major cause of maternal mortality around the world.

WHO research found that medical abortion could easily be done by women at home, without supervision by health professionals and with the same health impact as a spontaneous miscarriage.

"Many women seek unsafe abortion because they lack access to information on the legal status of abortion and the availability of services," Women on Waves wrote.

"Animations that provide information about safe abortion methods can therefore reduce recourse to unsafe abortion.

"By removing the video channels, YouTube violates Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to freedom of information, as well as Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the freedom of expression."

The organisation has filed a complaint with YouTube.

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