Google to crack down on search results for crisis pregnancy centers after Dem pressure

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Google is cracking down on search results for pro-life crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) amid pressure from Democrats following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., boasted on Twitter that Google is "taking action" against CPCs following his June letter with Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and 19 other Democrats.

"Back in June @RepSlotkin and I wrote to @Google urging them to improve their search results and prevent users that search for abortion clinics and services from being misled," Warner tweeted. "Today I received a response from Google and am happy to report that they're taking action.

"Soon, those who search for ‘abortion clinics near me’ will only see facilities that have been verified to provide abortions in the local search box on Google, meaning that far fewer women will be mistakenly led to ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ that often provide misinformation," he continued. "Additionally, as our letter requested, Google says results for searches such as ‘abortion clinics’ will ‘be clearly labeled as to whether the facility provides abortions.'"

Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, gestures as he speaks during a news conference for the CHIPS and Science Act at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

PRO-LIFE PREGNANCY CLINICS STILL BEING TARGETED BY VIOLENCE, 3 MONTHS AFTER SUPREME COURT LEAK

"Importantly, this isn't about silencing voices or restricting speech," he added. "It's about returning search results that accurately address a user's query and giving users information that is relevant to their searches. I appreciate @Google taking these steps to improve its services."

A Google spokesperson told FOX Business that the change is wider-ranging than just pertaining to CPCs and is meant to further assist people in finding the places that best match the intent of their search. 

"When people turn to Google to find local information, we aim to help them easily explore the range of places available so they can determine which are most helpful to them," the spokesperson said in a statement. "For a number of categories where we’ve received confirmation that places offer specific services, we’ve been working for many months on more useful ways to display those results. We’re now rolling out an update that makes it easier for people to find places that offer the services they’ve searched for, or broaden their results to see more options. 

"We get confirmation that places provide a particular service in a number of ways, including regularly calling businesses directly and working with authoritative data sources," the statement said. "We followed our standard testing and evaluation process to confirm that these updates are more helpful for people."

This Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File / AP Newsroom)

The spokesperson said that for specific searches in Google Search and Maps, like for abortion-related services, users will initially be given a list of confirmed providers of that service in the area. The user can then choose to see a broader set of results by using a refinement button to expand. The label "may not provide abortions" could then appear on a range of clinics in a given area that don't provide that service. Medical clinics that don't provide abortions will also still be discoverable by searching for them directly.

Progressive Democrats have been verbally attacking CPCs since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which sparked a wave of vandalism and threats against the clinics nationwide. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts accused the clinics of "torturing" pregnant women seeking abortion information and called on the federal government to "shut them down all around the country."  

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a news conference concerning the extension of eviction protections in the next coronavirus bill, at the U.S. Capitol on July 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"In Massachusetts right now, those crisis pregnancy centers that are there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help outnumber true abortion clinics by three to one," Warren said in July.

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Democrats like Warren say CPCs disseminate misinformation about the risks associated with abortion in an effort to persuade women to give birth. She introduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act in June, which would direct the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe rules "prohibiting disinformation" in the advertising of abortion services.

CPCs are typically faith-based and offer reproductive health care, prenatal care and counseling to help expecting parents choose life over abortion. Most centers offer free STI testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, prenatal vitamins, ultrasounds, post-abortion care, parenting classes, adoption referrals, and even free baby clothes and diapers once the baby is born. The centers receive funding primarily through private donations and grants from religious organizations, but many states also allocate public money to the centers via programs like "Choose Life" license plates, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. 

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