Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn is demanding an apology from social media giant Twitter after it blocked her Senate campaign advertisement that mentions the abortion industry's alleged sales of baby body parts.
"I am appalled by Twitter's attempt to censor my pro-life record, and I believe that the entire pro-life community deserves an apology and explanation for their actions," Blackburn said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Fox News.
"I have spent my entire career fighting to protect and honor life, and I refuse to allow an organization whose stated mission is to 'provide information instantly, without barriers' the ability to silence our efforts to protect the unborn," she continued.
Blackburn announced her plans to run for U.S. Senate last week to fill the seat of retiring Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker.
In her campaign advertisement, the lawmaker declared: "I'm 100% pro-life. I fought Planned Parenthood, and we stopped the sale of baby body parts –thank God."
Twitter reportedly blocked the video, saying the line was "deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction."
Dianna Colasurdo of Twitter stated in an email to a political advertisement agency working for the campaign that the video will only be permitted on the platform if the line in question is removed.
Gizmodo reported that Twitter eventually allowed the advertisement to be posted on the platform. A spokesperson from the social media company said that the initial decision to ban the video was made on the basis of its advertising moderation policy, rather than violations of its more general terms of service. The company noted that it may have overstepped by applying the standard to a political advertisement.
Blackburn, an eight-term congresswoman with a 100 percent pro-life voting record, had chaired the U.S. House Select Panel on Infant Lives, which was created to investigate Planned Parenthood's alleged involvement in the sales of aborted baby body parts.
In January, the committee made several criminal and regulatory referrals to state and federal officials regarding Planned Parenthood and other groups that were said to be involved in the baby parts trade. The panel also called on Congress to stop federal payments to Planned Parenthood.
Twitter has drawn criticism in the past for censoring pro-life advertisements. In September, the social media platform was accused of censoring the advertisements of the youth-centered pro-life organization Live Action, which is known for its undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood.
Live Action and founder Lila Rose said that Twitter blocked the organization's account from posting advertisements. While the account is still able to send out tweets to followers, the advertising block has prevented the group from reaching a wider audience.
The pro-life group noted that the social media company also wants Live Action to remove "sensitive content" from its official website, not just its Twitter page, before it can post advertisements on the platform.