During the summer of 2016, I had the fantastic opportunity to walk across America to raise awareness and support for the pro-life community. You read that right! I participated in a group of young people who spent their entire summer from May to August walking from San Francisco, California to Washington, D.C. with Crossroads Pro-Life, an organization that puts together multiple, summer-long walks for younger people to participate in.
Through prayer and peaceful witness, the young people share the pro-life message, each using their unique talents and personal stories. On weekends, we would pray peacefully outside of abortion facilities and also speak at churches about what we were doing, and encourage others to become more actively pro-life.
At one particular abortion facility, another walker and I had the opportunity to tour a mobile clinic operated by the Human Coalition. The Human Coalition takes a unique approach to their pro-life ministry by offering women who are thinking of having an abortion the opportunity to tour a mobile clinic and have a free ultrasound performed. As they give the tour and conduct the ultrasound, the licensed professionals operating the mobile clinic will offer encouragement to the expectant mother to continue to carry her child to term. They answer any questions and concerns that the mother may have.
The behind-the-scenes action takes place primarily through their rescue partner app, which until recently was available on the Apple App Store. The app anonymously lists women who are considering abortions based off of the “front-lines” conversations and interactions the mobile clinic professionals are having. The app makes it possible for pro-life individuals and groups to pray for them and keeps track of the outcome of each scenario. In this way, an app user can see how many children their specific prayers have helped save.
Sounds amazing, right? Apparently, a lot of abortion activists didn’t think so, and in June and July of 2017 Slate and The News Statesman published hit pieces attacking the app and the idea that people would be interested in praying for women considering abortions.
Human Coalition recounts what happened next:
“In July, on the heels of pro-abortion media pushback, Apple notified us that they had removed the Human Coalition app from the App Store, citing violations of certain functionality requirements. However, Human Coalition spoke with Apple and demonstrated that not only were they cited requirements met, but that the Human Coalition app exceeded minimum requirements and functioned better than similar apps from other developers.
Apple refused to name any specific change that Human Coalition could make to the app for it to become available again on the app store. Instead, they demanded that Human Coalition completely overhaul the app, a procedure which is both unnecessary and costly.
Censorship of pro-life content by tech companies seems to be a growing trend. Recall that Live Action, the nation’s largest pro-life advocacy organization is fighting an ongoing battle with Twitter, over that platform’s continued censorship of pro-life ads.
Josh Denton is a contributing writer for Family Policy Institute of Washington.