muzzle.jpgIn this case, I agree with NARAL. If Verizon censors pro-aborts on the topic of abortion, that means it will censor pro-lifers. A private company has that right, but this was a bad call.
In any event, the decision has already been reversed.
Backdrop, New York Times, this morning….

Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.
The other leading wireless carriers have accepted the program, which allows people to sign up for text messages from Naral by sending a message to a five-digit number known as a short code.
Text messaging is a growing political tool in the United States ….

In turning down the program, Verizon, one of the nation’s two largest wireless carriers, told Naral that it does not accept programs from any group “that seeks to promote an agenda or distribute content that, in its discretion, may be seen as controversial or unsavory to any of our users.”…
A spokesman for Verizon said the decision turned on the subject matter of the messages and not on Naral’s position on abortion. “Our internal policy is in fact neutral on the position,” said the spokesman, Jeffrey Nelson. “It is the topic itself” – abortion – “that has been on our list.”…
Naral provided an example of a recent text message that it has sent to supporters: “End Bush’s global gag rule against birth control for world’s poorest women! Call Congress. (202) 224-3121. Thnx! Naral Text4Choice.”…
Text messaging programs based on five- and six-digit short codes are a popular way to receive updates on news, sports, weather and entertainment….
Most of the candidates and advocacy groups that use text message programs are liberal, which may reflect the demographics of the technology’s users and developers. A spokeswoman for the National Right to Life Committee, which is in some ways Naral’s anti-abortion counterpart, said, for instance, that it has not dabbled in text messaging.
Texting has proved to be an extraordinarily effective political tool….

Then, according to the Internet Broadcasting Systems/Associated Press, also this morning:

Verizon Wireless has reversed course and will allow NARAL Pro-Choice America to use its mobile network for a sign-up text messaging program.
Company spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the decision not to allow text messaging was incorrect.
Nelson had said Wednesday that abortion was among topics barred from mass distribution based on the company’s code of content.
However, the code was developed before text-messaging became a mass-market phenomenon.
NARAL lets people sign up to receive its text messages by keying in a message to a five-digit number.

Lesson for pro-lifers to learn from this: Use this technology.
P.S. NARAL’s sample text message was a gross mischaracterization, btw. It opposes the Mexico City Policy, which disallows American tax dollars to go to any overseas “family planning group” that advocates or commits abortion. The Senate just overturned this long-standing policy, which Reagan enacted, Bush I continued, Clinton overturned (on first day in office), and Bush II reinstated. Bush II has vowed to veto this latest measure.
[HT: NARAL e-alert, reader Rosie, friends Arlene and Jim]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...