A pro-life advocacy group active on school campuses nationwide says its TikTok account has been shut down as the debate about censorship on social media is receiving renewed attention while billionaire Elon Musk is set to purchase Twitter.
In a blog post Tuesday, Students for Life of America announced that it was banned from the short-form video platform due to “multiple Community Guideline violations.” The organization insisted that it did not know for sure what caused TikTok to ban its account and said they received “no way to appeal” the decision.
In a statement released Wednesday, SFLA President Kristan Hawkins warned, “If you’re pro-life on TikTok’s social media platform, you have a target on your back.”
"There’s no other explanation why SFLA’s account was recently banned for posting life-affirming content while abortion supporters continue to run rampant on the app,” Hawkins said. “TikTok seems to be practicing corporate viewpoint discrimination.”
The Christian Post reached out to TikTok for clarification on how Students for Life's account violated the platform's community guidelines. A response was not immediately received.
Although the exact reason for the account's termination remains uncertain, Students for Life suggests that the final video posted on the account may have played a role.
The video, titled “Pro-Choicer Defeated by Simple Logic,” showed Hawkins debating a pro-abortion University of Texas at San Antonio student about abortion.
The female protester confronted Hawkins as she addressed university students as part of her “The Future is Anti-Abortion” speaking tour. The student rejected the premise that “life begins at conception,” asserting that “life begins when you understand living women matter more than potential babies.”
Other pro-abortion protesters cheered and applauded the student's statement.
Hawkins asked, “If it’s a potential baby, what is inside of a woman?” The student replied by declaring, “it’s a fetus.” When Hawkins asked if the fetus is "living," the pro-abortion protesters answered “no” in unison.
“How can it grow if it’s not living?” she responded. “When does the fetus become living?”
While the pro-abortion student described Hawkins’ inquiry as a “good question,” she appeared ready to dismiss the argument before Hawkins jumped in and proclaimed, “Yeah, of course, because you don’t know it. Because it’s living.”
The two debated which one of them denies science, with the student classifying the assertion that “it’s a child inside of you” as anti-science because “it is a clump of cells.”
Hawkins identified herself as a “clump of cells” and asked, “What makes me different?”
“That you were born,” the student replied.
Hawkins summarized the student's argument as implying “anything that is not born is not valuable of life,” a characterization the student rejected.
Another student in the audience maintained that the moment life becomes valuable was “subjective,” which prompted Hawkins to query, “When does a child or fetus or clump of cells, whatever you want to call them, when does this clump of cells or fetus become living?”
The student responded by saying, “When it can sustain its own life.” Then, Hawkins sought a definition of “sustainability,” contending that “you can’t just have a newborn and they just live on their own.”
When the student agreed, Hawkins reiterated that “they’re not sustainable" and "need help and assistance to survive.”
Hawkins questioned whether a newborn is “not worthy of life.” Rather than answer the question, the student said that when her mom was in college 30 years ago, "she was protesting the exact same thing that me and these other wonderful women and men on this side have been protesting.”
“It is a basic human right to have an abortion, to have a choice,” the student stated.
Hawkins argued that “the reason we’re still having this discussion is because some people don’t want to accept the natural consequences of heterosexual sex being inconvenienced by another human life or want to selfishly choose to end human life in order to have their whims met.”
Students for Life of America is not the first pro-life group to face censorship on social media.
The pro-life website Life News reported last week that Twitter “locked our account and threatened to permanently ban it for posting a picture of one of the five full-term babies aborted in our nation’s capital, even though we followed Twitter rules by marking it sensitive.”
Twitter accepted Musk's offer to purchase the platform for $44 billion this week. Musk cited concern that the website was failing to live up to its “potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe.”
Musk conducted a poll on his Twitter account last month asking whether Twitter “rigorously” adhered to the principle that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.” Seventy percent of respondents voted “no” while 30% said “yes.”
Musk elaborated on his plans for the company.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans."
“Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” he added.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org