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Re: <nettime> Abortion services censored out on Google AdWords: Sign on
Pranesh Prakash on Mon, 13 Jul 2009 22:00:41 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Abortion services censored out on Google AdWords: Sign on the letter to protest to Google


On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 18:41, Carsten Agger <agger {AT} c.dk> wrote:

> On Mon, 2009-07-13 at 12:41 +0530, Pranesh Prakash wrote:
>
>> 3) While generally (at least in India) commercial speech is also
>> covered by the freedom of speech and expression, that right may be
>> curtailed. ÂProtecting the right of the unborn female foetus is as
>> much a concern of human rights, if not more, than protecting the right
>> of abortion clinics to advertise.
>
> True. But, once abortion is accepted and legalized, I don't see how it
> is possible to curtail it by banning sex-selective abortion.

"Possible" in principle or "possible" in practice?  In principle: by
not accepting abortion as a right of self determination, and allowing
it only under certain circumstances (like danger to the mother, etc.).
 In practice: sex-selective abortions may be curtailed by checking the
importation, manufacture and sale of ultrasound machines, and making
it illegal for qualified healthcare professionals to tell their
patients about the sex of the foetus after examination through AMT,
ultrasound, etc.

> Free access to abortion, as many countries now have, means free access
> to abortion for any reason whatever within the first 12 (as in some
> countries) og 20 (as in others) weeks, meaning the clinic and the
> country's authorities are not supposed even to ask why the woman or
> couple want an abortion.

There are also some (many?) countries which allow for abortion, but
don't allow "free access" to abortion.

> In this situation, you can't consistently ban some reasons over other
> (what one could and should do, of course, is refuse to accept the
> foetus' gender as a reason when consdering dispensing from age limits,
> in which case the reasons should be limited the mothers's health or
> social circumstances, possible disability, etc.)

Umm. Not quite sure what "when considering dispensing from age limits"
means, but I think we are in agreement with each other.  Refusing to
accept the foetus's gender as a reason for a valid abortion
tantamounts to a ban on sex-selective abortion.

At any rate, it is not necessarily a freedom of speech problem if
Google does not allow for abortion ads (unlike the situation if they
didn't allow for content on abortion to be displayed in the search
results), since the above discussion shows that advertisement of
abortion is something that may be justly regulated.  (I'm not at all
certain, though, as I indicated earlier, what connects the specific
countries affected by this ban.  So, what I'm seeking to establish is
only a principle, and not justifying Google's actions in this
*particular* case, nor commenting on whether the principle applies
here.)


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