by Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US lawmakers have urged Alphabet Inc’s flagship Google search engine to give accurate results to people seeking abortions, rather than sometimes sending them to “crisis pregnancy centres” that turn women away from procedures. carry away.
The request came in a letter whose top signatories were Senator Mark Warner and Representative Alyssa Slotkin, sent to Google on Friday and first reported by Reuters.
The letter was inspired by a study released last week by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. The study found that in some states 11% of results for a search for “abortion clinic near me” or “abortion pill” were for centers opposing abortion.
The research was conducted in 13 states with laws that would ban abortion, if expected, as the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized it nationwide as soon as this month. .
Google declined to comment on the letter to Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai, but said of the report: “We are always looking for ways to improve our results so that people can find what they are looking for.” Help locating, or understanding what they are doing, search may not be available.”
The letter was signed by 14 senators and seven members of the US House of Representatives. All are Democrats.
Crisis pregnancy centers, which have been in place for years, reflect disagreements over the right to terminate a pregnancy in the United States. Some centers have been accused of giving women false information about their pregnancies, which could jeopardize their access to abortion.
“Google should not display fake anti-abortion clinics or crisis pregnancy centers,” the lawmakers wrote. “If Google must continue to show these misleading results … the results should, at the very least, be appropriately labeled,” he wrote.
Google has dealt with other health concerns differently. A curated list of resources and reliable sources tops searches related to suicide or sexual assault.
The research group also found that in the states it studied, 28% of Google ads were for anti-abortion centers, as were 37% of results on Google Maps. The letter said some centers had disclaimers but not all.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Jonathan Otis and Daniel Wallis)