The technology conglomerate recently announced that Google Maps will only produce options for abortion clinics when users search for abortion-related services. However, crisis pregnancy centers — nonprofits that offer financial and medical assistance to mothers attempting to keep their babies — will no longer appear in queries regarding abortion.
“Back in June @RepSlotkin and I wrote to @Google urging them to improve their search results and prevent users that search for abortion clinics and services from being misled. Today I received a response from Google and am happy to report that they’re taking action,” Warner tweeted.
“Soon, those who search for ‘abortion clinics near me’ will only see facilities that have been verified to provide abortions in the local search box on Google, meaning that far fewer women will be mistakenly led to ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ that often provide misinformation,” he continued. “Additionally, as our letter requested, Google says results for searches such as ‘abortion clinics’ will ‘be clearly labeled as to whether the facility provides abortions.’”
Back in June @RepSlotkin and I wrote to @Google urging them to improve their search results and prevent users that search for abortion clinics and services from being misled. Today I received a response from Google and am happy to report that they’re taking action. 1/4
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) August 25, 2022
The lawmaker nevertheless insisted that the new policy is “about returning search results that accurately address a user’s query and giving users information that is relevant to their searches” rather than “silencing voices or restricting speech.”
Earlier this week, Yelp began placing a consumer notice on crisis pregnancy centers informing users that the facilities “provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.” After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — the 1973 opinion that purported that abortion is guaranteed under the Constitution — both Google and Yelp were among several leading companies that announced employee benefits intended to help with traveling across state lines for abortion.
Warner, who said that he was “happy to report” the news about Google preventing pregnant women from “being misled,” is one of several Democratic officials who have floated censoring crisis pregnancy centers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently garnered criticism for arguing that policymakers should “shut them down all around the country.”
“In Massachusetts right now, those crisis pregnancy centers that are there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help outnumber true abortion clinics by three-to-one,” Warren said. “You should not be able to torture a pregnant person like that.”
Despite Google’s funding of employee abortion tourism, members of the Alphabet Workers Union recently signed a petition demanding that the company expand the benefits to temporary employees, vendors, and contractors.
“We, the undersigned, recognize that all Alphabet workers, of all genders, are impacted by the overturning of Roe v. Wade and are disappointed in Alphabet’s response and influence on this ruling,” the petition said.
Among other policies, the petition calls for seven days of additional sick time “because workers will need to travel for significant periods to obtain health services,” greater travel reimbursements, and the end of political donations to lawmakers who oppose abortion. The document also expressed concern over the company’s choice to call abortion a “women’s issue” and use “gendered language” in communications with workers.
The end of Roe v. Wade has provoked Planned Parenthood to channel an “influx of support” toward a $50 million spending campaign for the upcoming midterm elections in Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood branches will also run election efforts in Colorado, California, Maine, Ohio, and Florida.