Rep. Maloney Calls on Google to Restore Ability for Users to Review Services Offered at Crisis Pregnancy Centers


Washington, DC- Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) called on Google CEO Sundar Pichai to restore the ability for Google users to write reviews detailing services offered at some crisis pregnancy centers and abortion clinics and asked to clarify the factors Google uses to determine whether a review can be posted online.

Google appeared to limit users’ ability to post reviews of certain crisis pregnancy centers and abortion clinics after the group of young progressive activists Gen-Z for Change launched an initiative called SAFER – or Spam, Assist, Fund, Educate and Register, which allowed users to run a script that would automatically leave multiple reviews for Crisis Pregnancy Centers on Yelp. The initiative has encouraged people to leave objective reviews that simply explain that Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not abortion clinics.

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In the congresswoman’s letter to Pichai, she explains that preventing users from posting reviews of crisis pregnancy centers “will make it difficult for people seeking abortion care to use the reviews to obtain precise and useful information on the types of services they can access in these centres”.

The MP goes on to express concern that Google’s actions pose a danger to the health and well-being of people seeking abortions because “crisis pregnancy centers are anti-abortion organizations that pose as comprehensive reproductive health care providers with the aim of preventing pregnant women from having abortions. However, most crisis pregnancy centers in the United States do not employ licensed medical personnel or even provide referrals for birth control or abortion care.

The MP ends her letter by doubling down on the importance of this information for expectant mothers seeking to make informed decisions about their own health and their own bodies, “especially in circumstances like this when the time is critical for quality and reception of their care”.

Gen-Z for change also offered their support for the MP’s letter saying: “Pregnancy in crisis centers are predatory institutions that mislead those in need of reproductive health care and shame those seeking abortions. At Gen-Z for Change, we wholeheartedly condemn their malicious tactics and will continue to advocate for more transparency in healthcare. Google is removing the ability for people to leave CPC reviews to not only censor specific information, but also the lived experiences of those who have fallen prey. We call on Google to immediately restore the ability to leave honest reviews about CPCs and abortion clinics. Gen Z will not sit idle as government and corporations silence our voices and control our bodies. »

The full text of the letter can be read below and a PDF can be found HERE.

Dear Mr Pichai,

It recently came to my attention that Google has disabled the ability for people to post reviews for certain crisis pregnancy centers and abortion providers listed on your platform. Given the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down the abortion rights guaranteed in Roe v. Wade, I am extremely concerned that this practice will make it difficult for people seeking abortion care to use exams to get accurate and useful information about the types of services they can access at these centers.

I first heard about this issue after members of my staff met with leaders of the young progressive activist group Gen-Z for Change, which works to promote civil discourse and political action in within their generation. Last month, Gen-Z for Change launched an initiative called SAFER – or Spam, Assist, Fund, Educate and Register, which allowed users to run a script that would automatically leave multiple reviews for Crisis Pregnancy Centers on Yelp. . The initiative encouraged people to leave comments that simply explained that these types of centers are “not an abortion clinic.”

After the initiative launched, it appears that Yelp disabled the ability for users to leave reviews for some Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and Google did the same for some Crisis Pregnancy Centers and Abortion Clinics, including Planned Parenthood.

As you may know, Crisis Pregnancy Centers are anti-abortion organizations that pose as comprehensive reproductive health care providers with the goal of preventing pregnant women from having abortions. However, most crisis pregnancy centers in the United States do not employ licensed medical personnel and do not even provide referrals for birth control or abortion care.

The majority of these reviews include objective facts that allow pregnant women to know the extent of care provided in health facilities. The ability of pregnant women – often in distress – to get accurate information about their options is critical, especially in circumstances like this, when the timing is critical to the quality and receipt of their care.

Pregnant women deserve to know the extent of care provided in health facilities across the country. In pursuit of this goal, I ask that you clarify the factors Google uses to determine whether a review can be posted online, and respectfully request that Google allow users to post reviews for Crisis Pregnancy Centers and abortion clinics across the country.

Sincerely

Carolyn B. Maloney

Congressman

Background

  • In June 2022, Congresswoman Maloney reintroduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation (SAD) Act with Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and US Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to suppress misleading advertising related to abortion services. This bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit misleading or misleading advertising related to the provision of abortion services. The bill also authorizes the FTC to enforce these rules and collect penalties from organizations in violation.
  • In May 2019, MP Maloney and Suzanne Bonamici wrote a letter to Google asking them to remove ads and cease all funding for Obria Group, an organization that runs fake medical clinics with a history of false advertising for medical services to patients. pregnant women.

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