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GoFundMe sparks controversy by removing campaign to fund abortion

If you’re a Facebook user, then odds are you’ve seen a crowdfunding link on your feed. Everyone is doing it. And if you haven’t created your own crowdfunding page for a cause yet, then you’ve probably donated to one. Now popular crowdfunding site GoFundMe has drawn a hard line in the sand by removing a young woman’s controversial campaign to fund her second-trimester abortion.

Bailey, 23, created a GoFundMe page to finance her abortion for a total of $2,500. Fundraising efforts were needed to terminate a “rough, unplanned and unexpected pregnancy,” according to Bailey. After multiple user complaints, GoFundMe was forced to take action by removing Bailey’s crowdfunding page. According to the site, it “no longer wanted to be associated” with it.

In the past few years, crowdfunding has been used for almost any campaign you can think of — ranging from fun to heart-wrenching. On the lighter side, crowdfunding sites have raised money for a Miley Cyrus twerking T-shirt, a flying bicycle à la E.T. and the famous potato salad campaign that raked in over $55,000. The Washington Post points out that GoFundMe specifically has backed campaigns for convicted murderers, drug users and the police officer who killed Michael Brown.

GoFundMe provided a statement to the BBC: “In the event that a campaign contains questionable content, GoFundMe will conduct an internal content review to determine the most appropriate course of action. Given the sheer volume of campaigns, each review is handled on a case-by-case basis.”

While the site’s statement does not explain why it chose to stand against abortion-funding, it does indicate that it examined Bailey’s campaign and chose to remove the page. Bailey’s campaign had already raised $1,654 from 100 different donors, which was forwarded to her.

This is a dilemma. A number of critics point out GoFundMe’s unfair slant by banning a campaign to fund abortion while still allowing pro-life campaigns on its site. GoFundMe’s actions may rub many users the wrong way, but it is a business, and it is allowed to create its own policies.

No one is saying Bailey or other young women cannot crowdfund an abortion. That is their right, and it should be protected. GoFundMe did not agree with the nature of this campaign and chose to do something about it. That is also their right. Bailey has freedom of choice, but not everyone has to agree with her decision.

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