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GOP AGs ask Google not to limit anti-abortion clinic results

  • September 1, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A month after some members of Congress urged Google to limit the appearance of anti-abortion pregnancy centers in certain abortion-related search results, 17 Republican attorneys general are warning the company that doing so could invite investigations and possible legal action.

“Suppressing pro-life and pro-mother voices at the urging of government officials would violate the most fundamental tenet of the American marketplace of ideas,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter Thursday to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and its parent company.

The effort was led by Republican Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and the letter was shared with The Associated Press ahead of its public release.

The Republicans took issue with a June 17 letter to the company from US Mon. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Michigan, which was co-signed by 19 other members of Congress.

That letter cited research by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, which found that Google searches for “abortion clinic near me” and “abortion pill” turned up results for centers that counsel clients against having an abortion.

Some of these places, known as crisis pregnancy centers, have also been accused of providing misleading information about abortion and contraception. Many are religiously affiliated.

“Directing women towards fake clinics that traffic in misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services is dangerous to women’s health and undermines the integrity of Google’s search results,” said the June letter, which was authored after the leak of a draft opinion indicating the US Supreme Court would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The court took that step June 24.

The Democrat-led group asked Google to address what steps it would take to limit the appearance of “crisis pregnancy

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GOP attorneys general warn Google not to suppress anti-abortion centers in search results

  • August 20, 2022

Seventeen Republican attorneys general have urged Google not to limit the appearance of anti-abortion centers in search results. They made the demand a month after Democratic lawmakers asked the company to refrain from directing people who are looking up information on pregnancy terminations to such centers. The Republican AGs suggested that if Google obliges the request from the other side of the aisle, they may investigate the company and undertake legal action. “If you fail to resist this political pressure, we will act swiftly to protect American consumers from this dangerous axis of corporate and government power,” they wrote in a letter to Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

Many of the so-called crisis pregnancy centers in question have religious affiliations, as the Associated Press notes. Some centers have been accused of providing misleading information about abortion and contraception. Following a leak of a draft opinion suggesting that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that ensured the right to abortion nationwide (a move that the court took in late June), Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a bill that seeks to “crack down on false advertising that crisis pregnancy centers employ to dissuade patients from getting the reproductive care they need, including abortion care.”

“Directing women towards fake clinics that traffic in misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services is dangerous to women’s health and undermines the integrity of Google’s search results,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote in their June 17th letter. They cited statistics indicating that a tenth of Google searches for terms like “abortion clinics near me” and “abortion pill” included results for anti-abortion centers.

The Republican AGs took issue with the Democrats’ missive. They noted that crisis pregnancy centers often provide services like free ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, sexually transmitted disease testing

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