The arbiters of science and democracy are now encouraging censorship of “misinformation” about birth control on popular social media platforms. Did they learn anything during the Covid pandemic? Apparently not.

The Washington Post ran several articles pointing to online misinformation as the cause of an increasing number of women who are quitting hormonal birth control. Following this, TikTok started censoring particular accounts and videos that were negative on birth control.

Major newspapers and social media outlets should not censor debate over birth control, nor should they use the rallying cry of misinformation to do so. Their efforts will only backfire. Instead, the answer is more information in a fair, open, honest public square.

First of all, the Washington Post errs when it considers misinformation to be the primary or sole reason that many women may want to take a break from the pill. In fact, when the Washington Post produced a video on this topic, the first piece of “misinformation” the reporter mentioned was, “birth control is evil”.

Whether birth control is evil or not isn’t a matter of misinformation. It’s a matter of opinion and often a moral debate, and one that’s been raging for decades, well before the advent of social media. In this debate, newspaper reporters and even healthcare providers should tread lightly. That question is between women, their sexual partners, and their own conscience.

Maybe the debate around birth control is getting more attention in the post-Roe world. But some women – particularly younger women who are less likely to be religious – may just be less excited about hormonal birth control because they are drawn to a more “natural” lifestyle. We may simply be living in a cultural moment where “detoxing” from unnecessary chemicals or hormones is a popular trend. Younger women are increasingly turning away from alcohol, for example. 

Another explanation may be that women are more likely to question the advice of the medical establishment after years of intermittent Covid lockdowns. They aren’t alone: many Americans are now questioning all kinds of medical advice, because of the way health, news, and political authorities squandered their trust in 2020. 

Absent this, many probably would have never asked the questions they are asking now. This includes increased scepticism and questions about the health effects of birth control.

Would anyone who supported restricting access to Covid-related information online during the pandemic acknowledge that this approach backfired? Covid censorship only served to widen distrust between medical institutions and the patients they believe they are protecting.

When certain “misinformation” about the Covid virus, its origins, the vaccine, social distancing, masks, immunity, and therapeutic treatments was censored, this often drew more attention and fueled conspiracy theories. We would have all benefited more from open debate. 

The answer to information that is not factually correct is not to attempt to eliminate that information from the internet. That would be nearly impossible, even if it were right. The better way is to answer “misinformation” with factual information from credible sources. That’s exactly what some pro-birth-control female reproductive health specialists, like Jennifer Lincoln, are attempting to do. 

The Washington Post interviewed Dr. Lincoln, who makes her own content for social media to counter the anti-birth-control perspective. She’s free to do this, and others who have a different set of beliefs and experiences should be free to express their point of view as well.

Oddly, some of the censored birth-control content is simply women sharing their personal (bad) experiences with the drug and its side effects. This can hardly be classified as misinformation. Instead, these women see the censorship of anti-birth-control arguments as gaslighting and further evidence that the medical establishment willfully ignores their pain or other symptoms.

Women are smart enough to see that heavy-handed censorship of the birth control debate (and other debates) is largely coming from the political Left, not the Right. During an election cycle when Democrats hope to malign Republicans for interfering with women’s health decisions, this censorship represents a different kind of interference, and reminds Americans how, during the pandemic, it was Democrats who sought to control many healthcare choices.

If the facts are truly on your side, then you should welcome debate rather than try to silence your opposition. Let’s hear everyone out, and trust women to discern what’s best.