Slate Writer Says She Convinced YouTube to Hide Anti-Abortion Videos
On Friday, Slate's April Glaser reported on YouTube search results, claiming that she had encouraged YouTube to hide "gory videos rife with misinformation" and promote a liberal view on the abortion issue as if it were the only correct one.
Glaser contrasted the "staid" and "sober" Google results for "abortion" — Planned Parenthood links and maps for abortion clinics at the top — with the radical and misleading pro-life results from searching "abortion" on YouTube.
"Before I raised the issue with YouTube late last week, the top search results for 'abortion' on the site were almost all anti-abortion—and frequently misleading," Glaser breathlessly reported. "One top result was a clip called 'LIVE Abortion Video on Display,' which over the course of a gory two minutes shows images of a formed fetus’ tiny feet resting in a pool of blood."
Glaser described "several misleading animations that showed a fetus that looks like a sentient child in the uterus," and lamented that "only two of the top 15 results struck me as not particularly political, and none of the top results focused on providing dispassionate, up-to-date medical information."
The story did not end there, however. To hear her tell it, this intrepid Slate reporter made the world a better place by protesting to YouTube.
"I emailed YouTube Friday afternoon asking why anti-abortion videos saturated the search results for 'abortion,' and if the platform thought accurate, health-focused information had a place there," Glaser wrote. "By Monday morning, before the company got back to me, the search results had changed to include a number of news outlets among the top results, including a video from Vice about how women trying to get abortions are being stymied by anti-abortion centers that masquerade as clinics."
The Vice video, "The Fake Abortion Clinics Of America: Misconception," does indeed slander pro-life crisis pregnancy centers (which now far outnumber abortion clinics) as "fake clinics." Because these centers — which provide counseling and free ultrasounds, among other help for women in need — offer women options besides abortion, Vice branded them "fake clinics." The abortion movement has attempted to shut them down, and this year the Supreme Court struck down a repressive California law that would have forced pro-life centers to advertise abortion.
Thanks, presumably, to April Glaser, I got the same misleading Slate video as the top result for "abortion" in a YouTube search. She reported also seeing one video from former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) and another entitled "Speak Out: Abortion Is Not a Human Right." Neither of these appeared in my search, which featured BuzzFeed videos attempting to reduce the stigma around abortion, a video from "D News" arguing abortion is not dangerous, Al Jazeera videos explaining how to get an abortion, and a BBC video attempting to remove the stigma.