Twitter has decided to change course on a controversial Senate campaign advertisement by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and will allow the ad to run, even though the social network initially claimed it violated ad guidelines, according to reports.
Twitter reportedly said Tuesday that the social media platform would allow Blackburn’s ad to be promoted after reconsidering the “context of the entire message,” according to Recode.
Twitter blocked an ad by Blackburn’s campaign Monday, claiming it included “an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.” The line in question stated: “I’m 100% pro-life. I found Planned Parenthood, and we stopped the sale of baby body parts — thank God.”
The social media platform initially said it would air the Senate candidate’s ad, but only if the line about “the sale of baby body parts” was removed.
Earlier Tuesday, Blackburn called on Twitter to apologize for blocking the advertisement, saying in a statement that she was “appalled” by Twitter’s censorship.
“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. “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.”
Twitter didn’t prohibit Blackburn from promoting the ad on her own Twitter accounts, but the company wouldn’t promote it as a sponsored ad on the site.
Blackburn was the chair of a Republican-run House panel created to investigate Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue research. The panel urged Congress to stop federal payments to the women’s health organization.
Democrats alleged that the GOP investigation had found no wrongdoing and wasted taxpayers’ money in an abusive investigation.
The panel was created after anti-abortion activists secretly recorded videos in 2015 showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they sometimes provide fetal tissue to researchers, which is legal if no profit is made.
Fetal tissue research has strong backing among scientists for its value in studying Down syndrome, eye disease and other problems. But Blackburn’s committee report said fetal tissue “makes a vanishingly small contribution to clinical and research efforts, if it contributes at all,” and recommended curbing federal grants for such research.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.