Health care providers verified to provide abortions will now have a clear label in Google Search and Maps.
Additionally, Google will only list verified facilities in the local search box when a person is searching for nearby abortion clinics.
This change comes two months after United States lawmakers wrote a letter to Google, urging the company to take action on misleading search results about abortion clinics.
The lawmakers, including Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), made the following claims:
- 37% of Google Maps results and 11% of Google search results for “abortion clinic near me” in states where abortion is outlawed were for anti-abortion clinics.
- 28% of Google ads displayed at the top of search results were for anti-abortion clinics.
In the letter, the lawmakers requested that Google limit the visibility of anti-abortion clinics and add a disclaimer next to search results for verified clinics.
Google satisfies the lawmakers’ requests in a series of changes announced today.
Changes To Google Search Results For Abortion Clinics
In a letter back to Sen. Warner and Rep. Slotkin, Google describes the changes it’s making to US search results for abortion clinics:
“When someone in the US searches for health care providers that provide abortions — for example, using the query “abortion clinics near me” — the Local Search results box will display facilities that have been verified to provide abortions…
Search results for such queries will also be clearly labeled as to whether the facility provides abortions.”
Without getting into specifics, Google notes it has extra layers of verification to help confirm that places labeled “abortion clinics” on Google Maps and Search offer abortions.
People will have the option to broaden their search to show results from organizations that do not provide abortions.
Changes To Google Ads Results For Abortion Clinics
Advertisers in the US have always had to complete a certification process to run ads that target keywords related to getting an abortion. The process verifies whether a clinic does or does not provide abortions.
Since 2019, Google has displayed an in-ad disclosure making it clear to searchers which clinics have completed the verification process. The disclosure states: “Provides abortions” or “Does not provide abortions.”
Google is updating the disclosures to make them more noticeable and rolling out an updated abortion certification policy.
With the new policy, advertisers that provide abortion pills, but do not dispense them to customers at their facilities, can be certified as clinics that provide abortions.
Google Changes Welcomed By US Lawmakers
The US lawmakers who penned the letter sent to Google are satisfied with today’s changes.
In a press release, Senator Warner states:
“I welcome the changes that Google has announced today so that women seeking abortion services aren’t directed towards fake clinics that traffic in misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services. Importantly, this isn’t about silencing voices or restricting speech – it’s about returning search results that accurately address a user’s query and giving users information that is relevant to their searches.”
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