Even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, the draught judgement surfaced in early May. Around this period, politicians pressed digital companies to improve abortion access. Google was accused of misleading women by adding anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centres in abortion clinic searches. Google is pledging to transparency by labelling health organisations when consumers search for abortions.
In a letter to Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., and Representative Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., Google stated it’s labelling clinics and hospitals with “Provides abortions” and “Does not provide abortions” in Search advertisements. Google Maps won’t show non-abortion facilities when looking for “abortion near me” Users can also widen their search area. Non-abortion organisations will continue to see results.
Despite its benefits, the new labels could leave out reproductive health facilities that offer abortion seekers support and medical care, but not abortions. Jezebel reminds out that since these organisations don’t offer abortions, they could be confused with CPCs and bogus clinics. In July Google modifies its advertising policy to include telemedicine and mail-order abortion services as abortion providers.
Bloomberg found that Google often misleads abortion clinic seekers. Crisis pregnancy centres make about a quarter of the top 10 search results in all 50 states and DC. Google misdirects 1 in 10 abortion queries to pregnancy crisis centres, according to The Guardian.
New changes don’t label pregnancy crisis centres. Google said the change isn’t about categorising places or defining groups. The company labels abortion facilities as “Provides abortions”. Today’s update isn’t about better labelling crisis pregnancy centres, according to Google. “May not provide abortions” may appear on a women’s health clinic like Planned Parenthood that doesn’t conduct abortions.
Although Google didn’t say it explicitly, this update could help individuals find abortion clinics in forbidden states. Furthermore the feature can discover an abortion clinic in a nearby legal state.
Moreover, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke federal abortion rights, more than 600 Google employees are pressuring the business to increase worker health benefits, divest itself of some political links, and bolster user privacy.