Twitter finally listened to an outcry from the disability rights community and updated its rules to protect people with disabilities from abusive comments.
The social media site faced a slew of criticism in January when a Twitter account used a photo of disability rights advocate Natalie Weaver and her young daughter to promote eugenic abortions. Her daughter Sophia has Rhett syndrome and facial deformities.
Initially, Weaver said she reported the abusive post and encouraged others to do the same, but Twitter refused to take it down. Later, as Weaver’s story gained attention, the social media business did remove the post and the account.
At the time, Twitter only recognized hateful tweets against “a race, religion, gender or orientation.” In April, Twitter said it added “disability” to those categories.
“It’s against our rules to directly attack or threaten someone based on their protected category, including disability. You asked us to clarify this in our reporting flow, and we’ve updated it to be more specific,” Twitter wrote on April 2.
Weaver, who is the co-founder of Advocates for Medically Fragile Kids NC, welcomed Twitter’s decision to add “disability” to its reporting criteria. “This is a step in the right direction to let everyone know that we won’t stand for hate and harassment towards the disability community,” she told Fox News.
The mom, who is also a vocal Medicaid advocate, hailed Twitter’s move as a victory for disability campaigners. “I think it’s so important because, many times, the disability community is ignored,” she said.
People with disabilities are discriminated against in many ways, including abortion. Unborn babies with disabilities frequently are killed in abortions. Iceland now has a nearly 100-percent abortion rate for unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome.
Parents of children with disabilities also frequently report feeling pressure to have abortions. Many now are speaking out about the discrimination that their children faced before birth, as well as after.
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In January, a British couple said they felt pressured to abort their unborn daughter at 37 weeks of pregnancy because she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. In 2015, British journalist William Skidelsky wrote a troubling piece about how doctors encouraged him and his wife to abort their late-term unborn son just because he had a cleft lip.
A Florida mother’s letter to her doctor went viral in 2016 after her doctor pressured her to abort her unborn daughter with Down syndrome. She refused, and later wrote a letter to her former doctor urging him to see how valuable her daughter’s life is.