Verizon Wireless to Allow Abortion Texts

Reversing course, Verizon Wireless on Thursday said it will allow an abortion rights group to use its mobile network for a sign-up text messaging program. The announcement came a day after the Basking Ridge-based unit of Verizon Communications Inc. said it had denied a request by Naral Pro-Choice America for the program. "The decision to not allow text messaging on an important, though sensitive, public policy issue was incorrect, and we have fixed the process that led to this isolated incident," Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said in a statement.

The program by Naral, based in Washington, D.C., lets people sign up to receive its text messages by punching in a message to a five-digit number. Other leading wireless carriers have accepted Naral's request to use their networks and Verizon looks ready to follow suit. Nelson on Wednesday had said that abortion was among topics barred from mass distribution based on the company's code of content, but noted that the code had been developed "before text-messaging became a mass-market phenomenon."

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