WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Google has committed to identifying verified abortion providers in local search results for such queries.
- Democrats had urged Google to crack down on search results so women won’t be tricked by being directed to “anti-abortion fake clinics.”
- Users will still be able to see a wider array of results if they so choose, including from organizations that don’t provide abortions.
Google told lawmakers that its searches, maps, and ads will target to label verified abortion clinics so they can easily be located. This move will help women so they won’t be tricked by fake anti-abortion clinics.
According to the company, it is rolling out an update to make it easier for people to find places that offer the services they’re looking for — with a commitment to accuracy, according to Google.
In a letter sent to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) on Thursday, Google representative Mark Isakowitz said the company will add its own “provides abortions” label to places and ads for facilities where the services are actually available. It will also add a “might not provide abortions” label when Google has been unable to verify if the procedure is offered.
With more accurate information women can easily locate clinics and it would also help prevent them from seeking the procedure at facilities that pretend to be abortion clinics but actually use heavy-handed tactics to pressure people against the procedure.
Google officials said they will verify if certain places provide abortions by calling them on regular basis and collaborating with “authoritative” data sources.
“We have extra layers of verification in place to help us confirm that places labeled as ‘abortion clinics’ on Google Maps and Search offer abortions,” Isakowitz noted in the letter.
“We [also] provide a way for anyone to flag problematic reviews [and] inappropriate content,” he added. “People can also report misleading business information to Google … we take the risk of fake business profiles seriously and carry out a number of steps to combat them.”
The letter was sent to Democrat lawmakers who complained in a letter in June about misleading Google map and search results. They told the company that 37% of Google map results and 11% of search results for “abortion clinics near me” and “abortion pill” in states with abortion trigger bans were actually for anti-abortion facilities.
Google has also been called out by its employees to address the issue.