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Google urged to fix abortion search results to ‘fake clinics’ in the US


The research group also found that in the states that it studied that 28% of Google Ads were for anti-abortion centers (Picture: Reuters)

US lawmakers urge Google against showing anti-abortion ‘fake clinics’ or crisis pregnancy centres for searches related to abortion.

Last week, US Senators sent a letter to Google-owner Alphabet’s chief executive Sundar Pichai asking the search engine to give accurate results to people seeking abortions rather than sometimes sending them to ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ which steer women away from the procedures.

‘Google should not be displaying anti-abortion fake clinics or crisis pregnancy centers,’ the lawmakers wrote. ‘If Google must continue showing these misleading results…the results should, at the very least, be appropriately labeled,’ they wrote.

The letter was prompted by a study released last week by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, as reported by Reuters.

The study found that 11% of the results for a search for an ‘abortion clinic near me’ or ‘abortion pill’ in some states were for centres that oppose abortion.

US lawmakers urge Google to not display anti-abortion ‘fake clinics’ or crisis pregnancy centres for searches related to abortion (Picture: AFP)

The research was conducted in the 13 states with laws that could potentially ban abortion as early as this month if the US Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

The research group also found that in the states that it studied, 28% of Google Ads were for the anti-abortion centres, as were 37% of the results on Google Maps. The letter said that some of the centres had disclaimers but not all.

A crisis pregnancy centre or a pregnancy resource centre is a type of nonprofit organization to persuade pregnant women against having an abortion. Some of the centres have been accused of giving women inaccurate information about their pregnancy, which can jeopardize their access to abortion.

Google declined to comment on the letter, but said to Reuters: ‘We’re always looking at ways to improve our results to help people find what they’re looking for, or understand if what they’re looking for may not be available,’

The letter was signed by 14 senators and seven members of the US House of Representatives who were all Democrats.

In May, US lawmakers urged Google to ‘stop unnecessarily collecting’ customer location data that can be used to identify people who’ve had abortions.

Just last week, an investigation revealed that tech giant Facebook was collecting sensitive data about people who visit the websites of these Crisis pregnancy centres, putting them at risk.

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Google for comment.


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