Tech Titans and Abortion Rights: Steering Reproductive Health in Colombia

by | Dec 10, 2023

The Battle for Reproductive Health Information:

In today’s digital age, advancements in technology have led to significant changes in various aspects of our lives, including healthcare. However, concerns have been raised about how big tech companies handle sensitive topics like reproductive health. This article explores the obstacles faced by activists and medical professionals in Colombia, examines the impact of Google’s restrictions on abortion information, and emphasizes the need for transparency to ensure access to crucial reproductive health content.

The Struggle for Reproductive Health Information:

Colombia, a country where abortion was completely illegal until 2006, has seen activists fighting tirelessly for access to safe and legal reproductive procedures. These determined individuals have worked hard to overcome barriers and censorship, making sure that reproductive health information is easily available to those who need it.

The Role of Oriéntame and Pro-Choice Activism:

Oriéntame, a network of sexual and reproductive health clinics in Colombia, has played a key role in advocating for reproductive rights. Working with organizations like Causa Justa, Oriéntame has been at the forefront of expanding access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare across the country.

Colombia’s Progressive Decriminalization:

In a significant milestone for reproductive rights, Colombia’s Constitutional Court fully decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in 2022. As a result, Oriéntame took the initiative to offer free, legal, and safe abortion services, ensuring that women have access to proper healthcare facilities.

Google’s Ad Restrictions and Access to Information:

Despite the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, there has been a setback in terms of access to information on sexual and reproductive healthcare due to Google’s decision to block Oriéntame ads that mention abortion. This has had a negative impact on the organization’s ability to reach individuals seeking accurate and reliable information.

The Plunge in Web Traffic and Workarounds:

Following Google’s ad block, Oriéntame experienced a significant 96% decline in web traffic. Forced to find alternative approaches, the organization has relied on organic growth and devised ways to bypass Google’s automatic blocks. However, they are still unable to advertise their abortion services on the platform.

A Call for Transparency and Open Dialogue:

It is crucial for tech giants to prioritize transparency in their policies regarding reproductive health content. Activists and medical professionals strongly argue that platforms like Google should ensure the free flow of high-quality information about abortion, avoiding unnecessary restrictions that hinder access to essential reproductive healthcare resources.

TikTok’s Stance on Abortion Content:

Unlike Google, TikTok has taken a different approach. A spokesperson for the platform has stated that abortion is not considered a restricted topic when discussed in a medical manner. This highlights the importance of distinguishing between informative content and content that may promote harm or misinformation.

Addressing Advertiser Collaboration:

Collaboration between healthcare product advertisers and platform representatives, such as TikTok sales representatives, is crucial in healthcare advertising. This partnership helps ensure that reproductive health information is effectively and responsibly disseminated, safeguarding the well-being of users.

Global Efforts for Accessible Information:

The struggle for accessible reproductive health information goes beyond Colombia’s borders. Organizations like Fundación Karisma and Women on Web are actively working to restore access to vital resources in countries such as Spain, South Korea, and Turkey, where websites remain inaccessible despite legal rulings.


As technology continues to shape healthcare, tech giants must prioritize transparency and open dialogues about reproductive health content. The case of Oriéntame in Colombia exemplifies the challenges faced by activists and medical professionals in guaranteeing access to accurate information and safe healthcare services. By fostering collaboration and embracing responsible practices, tech giants can play a crucial role in advancing reproductive rights globally.