Abortion Clinic - Copyright Burger / Phanie / REX

Google and Facebook ban ads linked to Ireland's abortion referendum

Thu 10 May 2018
By Eno Adeogun

Social media sites are making huge political decisions when it comes to how abortion is discussed in Ireland.

Google has banned all ads relating to the Republic of Ireland's upcoming referendum on abortion, which takes place on 25th May.

It comes after Facebook blocked all foreign ads relating to the vote on Tuesday.


Google has gone a step further after announcing all ads linked it would be blocked.

Dawn Mcavoy is a Christian and co-founder of Both Lives Matter - a movement of individuals and organisations that want to re-frame the abortion debate in Northern Ireland and beyond from a pro-life perspective.

She told Premier the bans are concerning.

"It does affect pro-life voices more and pro-life campaigners - ourselves included - do rely on digital media and social media because elements within the print and broadcast media are committed to a pro-choice agenda," she said during Premier's News Hour.

Voters will decide whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Republic of Ireland's constitution, which states "the right to life of the unborn".

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While Ireland's electoral laws ban foreign organisations from funding campaign groups in the country, social media sites and search engines like Google are not prohibited from carrying foreign-funded advertisements.

Explaining why the ban is particularly problematic, Mcavoy added: "Information is the currency of democracy and the public need to be able to rely on the information they're being given.

"If they can't rely on media or print and broadcast media to be impartial and now they can't get all of the information on digital media - where do they get their information from?"

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