EXCLUSIVE U.S. lawmakers urge Google to fix abortion searches that steer women to ‘fake clinics’

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are urging Alphabet Inc’s main search engine Google (GOOGL.O) to provide accurate results to people seeking abortions rather than sometimes sending them to “pregnancy centers in case of crisis”, which keep women away from procedures. .

The request came in a letter, the main signatories of which are Senator Mark Warner and Representative Elissa Slotkin, sent to Google on Friday.

The letter was prompted by a study published last week by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. The study found that 11% of search results for “abortion clinic near me” or “abortion pill” in some states were for centers that oppose abortion.

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The research was conducted in the 13 states with laws that would ban abortion if, as expected, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade who legalized it nationwide as early as this month.

The letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai was signed by 13 senators and three members of the U.S. House of Representatives mid-morning Friday. All are Democrats.

Crisis pregnancy centers, which have existed in one form or another for years, reflect disagreements in the United States over the right to terminate a pregnancy. Some of these centers have been accused of giving women inaccurate information about their pregnancy, which can compromise their access to abortion.

“Google should not display fake abortion clinics or crisis pregnancy centers in search results for users looking for an ‘abortion clinic’ or an ‘abortion pill,'” the lawmakers wrote.

“If Google is to continue to show these misleading results in search results and Google Maps, the results should, at the very least, be labeled appropriately,” they wrote.

Google, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, treated other health issues differently. Research regarding suicide or sexual assault is complemented by a carefully curated list of resources and trusted sources.

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

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Reporting by Diane Bartz; edited by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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