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Verizon lifts pro-abortion text message ban

Declares 'great respect for this free flow of ideas'

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Verizon Wireless has reversed a decision to "reject a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program"..

Verizon last week claimed it had the right to prohibit “controversial or unsavory” text messages, and duly judged Naral Pro-Choice America's plan to allow people to sign up for its "highly controversial" messages as out of bounds, the New York Times reports. One of the group's recent missives read: "End Bush's global gag rule against birth control for world's poorest women! Call Congress. (202) 224-3121. Thnx! Naral Text4Choice".

Naral Pro-Choice America's prez Nancy Keenan told the NYT: "No company should be allowed to censor the message we want to send to people who have asked us to send it to them. Regardless of people's political views, Verizon customers should decide what action to take on their phones. Why does Verizon get to make that choice for them?"

A fair question, and Verizon today issued a statement reversing its decision, which declared: "The decision to not allow text messaging on an important, though sensitive, public policy issue was incorrect, and we have fixed the process that led to this isolated incident."

Spokesman Jeffrey Nelson continued: "Upon learning about this situation, senior Verizon Wireless executives immediately reviewed the decision and determined it was an incorrect interpretation of a dusty internal policy. That policy, developed before text messaging protections such as spam filters adequately protected customers from unwanted messages, was designed to ward against communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent to children."

And just to be sure everyone understood just how Verizon is defending the right to free debate, the statement concluded: "Verizon Wireless is proud to provide services such as text messaging, which are being harnessed by organizations and individuals communicating their diverse opinions about issues and topics. We have great respect for this free flow of ideas and will continue to protect the ability to communicate broadly through our messaging service." ®

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