Republican Attorneys General Threaten YouTube Over ‘Misleading’ Label on Pro-Life Videos

Letter states: ‘Your bias against pro-life and pro-woman messages is un-American; inconsistent with the liberties protected by the First Amendment; and, in this case, illegal. It must stop.’

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird led the effort to send a letter to Google executive Neal Mohan, regarding labels placed on pro-life videos on the social-media platform.
Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird led the effort to send a letter to Google executive Neal Mohan, regarding labels placed on pro-life videos on the social-media platform. (photo: Unsplash)

Sixteen Republican attorneys general are threatening legal action against YouTube and its parent company Google for placing a ‘misleading’ label on pro-life videos.

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird led the effort to send a letter to Google executive Neal Mohan on Monday, regarding labels placed on pro-life videos on the social-media platform. 

The letter said the notices violate the First Amendment and spread “false” information about abortion that “minimizes and downplays some of the serious risks of abortion drugs,” potentially endangering women’s lives.

The letter cites an example of a pro-life video on YouTube about chemical abortion posted by Alliance Defending Freedom in February. Under the video a notice appears with the title, “Abortion health information.” The message says that surgical and chemical abortion are procedures “to end a pregnancy” done “by a licensed healthcare professional.”

YouTube posts similar notices on videos about abortion posted by pro-abortion accounts. 

“The last sentence of the notice is both false and misleading,” the attorneys general said in their letter. “It suggests that chemical abortions are performed by trained professionals. They are not. Although surgical abortions are still typically ‘done by a licensed healthcare professional,’ under current FDA protocols chemical abortions are ‘done by’ pregnant women themselves.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall told CNA that YouTube’s abortion notice “is the latest troubling instance of Big Tech targeting of conservative viewpoints” and that, “worse still,” YouTube is doing so “by spreading false and dangerous statements."

The letter explains that chemical abortions are commonly carried out in a woman’s home, without any supervision by a health professional and that “roughly” 1 in 25 women who take abortion pills end up in the emergency room.

According to the letter, state attorneys general are authorized to take legal action against Google and YouTube because of their “need to exercise our consumer-protection authority to protect pregnant women and other consumers from your falsehoods.”

“By asserting that chemical abortions are performed by licensed healthcare professionals, YouTube lies to our constituents and the rest of the American public.”

The letter also notes that because the company posted the misleading label itself, YouTube has none of the immunity from legal ramifications typically afforded to social-media platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“We demand that YouTube immediately remove or correct the misleading ‘information panel’ posted on Alliance Defending Freedom’s video and other videos discussing chemical abortion,” the letter said. “Your bias against pro-life and pro-woman messages is un-American; inconsistent with the liberties protected by the First Amendment; and, in this case, illegal. It must stop.”

In a separate statement Bird said that “women deserve to know the truth about the dangers of chemical abortion pills.” 

“YouTube must end its blatant misinformation campaign that puts women at risk and quit targeting pro-life messages.” 

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