Digital Snake Oil: How to Spot Fake News About Abortion

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Propaganda. Hoaxes. Misinformation. Fake news is so big you can see it from space. The industry is not new – satirical writing is the bedrock of modern Western civilization – but without a cheat sheet (see below), it’s difficult to discern fact from fiction.

Read more: Tips for analyzing fake news sources

But the problem of fake and misleading information is not limited to the world of politics. This million-dollar industry is now slowly pivoting towards the world of healthcare, specifically women’s reproductive rights.

It’s time to fight fake facts with actual facts.

Remember the days when you used to get a second opinion on a story you just read that sounded too good to be true or utterly ridiculous? Or the embarrassment of someone posting a SNOPES link on your Facebook wall immediately following something you shared with righteous indignation?

Now, some of us believe and trust almost anything we skim.

Read more: Here are some of the most common LIES told by anti-choice pregnancy centers that aim to dissuade women from having an abortion. If that’s not a form of fake news, propaganda, and misinformation, what is?

Even some state health care providers can’t get it right.

Read more: 10 abortion myths that need to be busted.

Abortion counseling is required by 38 states in our union before a woman can exercise her right to choice – and yet accurate information is hard to come by.  According to a Rutgers University study, 31 percent of facts presented in 23 state-provided booklets were deemed inaccurate by medical experts. The Informed Consent Project, which utilizes human anatomy experts to analyze the required abortion information materials, found them to be riddled with inaccuracies.

One can imagine how easy it is for anti-abortion websites to spread false information when 23 of the nation’s own state agencies can’t agree on the stages of fetal formation in the first trimester.

To combat false information France, once our closest allies, recently made a bold move: they just passed a bill that bans anti-abortion websites that publish false information about abortion.  Shouldn’t we consider doing the same thing in the United States?

In the meantime, how do we combat misinformation? Here’s how:

Join our Rapid Response Team. Be the first to know how you can take part in actions that support one of our valued partners, Planned Parenthood.  They champion women, girls, and families to make informed choices about their lives and their health care. Sign-up for our weekly updates below so you can help share accurate information with people who really need it.

Read more:  More women’s health stories here

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