by Steven Ertelt
March 6, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Officials at a leading pro-abortion group continue to bash Verizon Wireless about its prior decision to prevent NARAL from sending mass text messages on its system, even though Verizon reversed it months ago. NARAL is hoping its members will contact the FCC about the matter.
Last September, a regional unit of Verizon initially denied NARAL’s request to send out text messages to its membership. But higher-ups at the wireless carrier reversed the decision shortly afterwards.
Now, the organization is bashing Verizon again as it urges its members to tell the FCC it wants to loosen restrictions on setting up text-messaging services.
Nancy Keenan, NARAL’s president, sent her supporters an email message on Thursday from Laura Scher, the head of a pro-abortion wireless company, CREDO Mobile.
"The fact that Verizon feels it can reject or block politically motivated messages should leave us all very worried," Scher said in the email. "After all, how would you feel if Verizon decided to drop your phone calls the minute you started discussing a ‘controversial’ issue like reproductive freedom?"
"Verizon believes it can quash an organization’s communications to its own members," she added.
Though Scher writes as if the carrier continues to block NARAL’s messages, it has allowed them for months.
Spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said in September that Verizon officials overturned the decision very shortly after they learned of it.
"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," he said.
Still, NARAL is urging its backers to sign a petition saying that’s not the case.
"Mobile phone carriers currently believe they have the right to censor or block text-messaging communications that do not agree with their business or political viewpoints," claims the petition NARAL supports.
In fact, as the New York Times reported in September, Verizon was the only carrier to block the messages and "the other leading wireless carriers have accepted the program."
As LifeNews.com reported, the decision by Verizon brass to reverse the decision made by lower-ranking officials also came before Keenan sent out her first email urging abortion advocates to contact Verizon to complain.
Yet Keenan erroneously argued that pressure from 20,000 abortion advocates caused Verizon to change its policy — a claim Scher repeated Thursday.
"It was only because of enormous public outcry that Verizon changed its tune," Scher claimed.
Ultimately, NARAL wants its members to ask the FCC to prevent wireless communications companies from preventing groups like it from sending mass text messages using a "short-code" for members to op-in to its information network.
Specifically, the group supports a petition by other groups for an FCC declaration that text-messaging services are subject to the anti-discrimination provisions of the Telecommunications Act.
The FCC has opened up a public comment period that ends March 14.