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Verizon Wireless Rejects Pro-Choice Text Messages

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Today's New York Times reports that Verizon Wireless has rejected a text-messaging program that would allow subscribers who request the service to receive text messages from NARAL Pro-Choice America. Verizon says it has the right to block "controversial or unsavory" content.

So let's see what they consider "controversial or unsavory". Here is an example of one of NARAL's text messages:
"End Bush's global gag rule against birth control for world's poorest women! Call Congress. (202) 224-3121. Thnx! Naral Text4Choice."
So there you go.

I pay a lot of money to Verizon Wireless each month, and I resent the fact that they think they can tell me what content is appropriate for the text messages I receive. I should be the one who makes those decisions.

Besides, look at all the goofy and offensive personal text messages that kids and adults send each other every day. I'm sure that many cell phone users have received far less tasteful text messages than the one I quoted above. Is Verizon going to start censoring those kinds of messages too?

I hope Verizon will reconsider their decision and adopt a policy that's more in line with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.

Otherwise, I think I will have to switch to another provider, hassle though it would be.  So should you.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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