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YouTube ensures any pro-life video comes with “context” on abortion

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Kaspars Grinvalds via Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 10/16/22

YouTube has taken to providing "context boxes" that clearly conflict with the opinions and wishes of content creators.

YouTube is making sure that all pro-life perspectives on the issue of abortion come with a pro-choice message. The social media giant has taken to adding a disclaimer of sorts that promotes abortion practices in the liner notes of any video that attempts to broach the subject, even from a pro-life angle.

Context

The “context box,” as YouTube calls it, presents information on what an abortion is, with links provided to instruct on the procedure in its various forms. The box reads: 

“An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure is done by a licensed healthcare professional.” 

After this unsolicited explanation, YouTube provides a link to its help page, which includes links to the National Academy of Medicine and the World Health Organization, two groups that consistently promote abortion. Furthermore, YouTube’s help page suggests that any “health-related topic” may include a context box, but the practice seems to be mostly reserved for the topic of abortion. 

Arbitrary

Aleteia searched through several common medical conditions and when the context box appeared, it rarely provided the same level of information. Diseases like diabetes, cancer, and hepatitis do not seem to warrant a context box. Multiple sclerosis and AIDS, however, did receive context boxes, with videos concerning AIDS explaining how untreated HIV could advance to the disease, and videos related to MS merely citing whether a video comes from a healthcare provider. 

In the case of abortion, videos trigger the alert when they contain any mention of the term. This means videos featuring the guidance of Pope Francis, the teachings of the Church, and even reports of vandalism against churches are forced to bear information that they would never willingly promulgate. 

Aleteia recently covered the vandalism of a Catholic church in Lansing, Michigan. The featured video shows the front of the parish tagged with pro-choice phrases, slanders, threats against pro-lifers, and inverted crosses painted on the doors. Even this report of violence against the church on behalf of the abortion movement was forced to bear the context box, a move that quite literally adds insult to the parish’s injury. 

Politics

Speaking to CNA, Clare Morell, a policy analyst with the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Technology and Human Flourishing Project, called the tactic “clear political bias:” 

“Adding these disclaimers is clear political bias on the part of YouTube against pro-life groups and messaging. Rather than allowing for free speech and debate in today’s modern public square, YouTube is preferring one side and position over the other by adding these disclaimers. And attempting to prejudice viewers against the pro-life position.” She added, “It biases viewers against their messaging, to prejudge and dismiss their arguments before they’ve even heard them.”

CNA reached out to YouTube, owned by Google, for a comment on the matter, but the company did not respond. Read CNA’s article for a larger list of videos affected by YouTube’s context boxes.

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AbortionPro-lifeSocial Media
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