US senators have encouraged Alphabet’s top search engine, Google, to provide accurate results to those looking for abortions rather than directing them to “crisis pregnancy centers,” which push women away from the operation.
Senator Mark Warner and Representative Elissa Slotkin were among the top signatories of a letter delivered to Google on Friday, initially reported by Reuters.
Research issued last week by the Center for Countering Digital Hate sparked the letter. According to the survey, 11% of searches for “abortion clinic near me” or “abortion pill” in certain states were for anti-abortion organizations.
The study was done in the 13 states with legislation prohibiting abortion if the US Supreme Court, as predicted, overturned the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationally this month.
“We’re constantly looking at ways to enhance our results to help people discover what they’re searching for, or understand if what they’re looking for may not be accessible,” Google said of the story, declining to comment on the letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.
Fourteen senators and seven US House of Representatives members signed the letter. They’re all Democrats.
The existence of crisis pregnancy centers, which have been in various forms for years, reflects conflicts in the United States about the right to abort a pregnancy. Some institutions have been accused of providing women false information about their pregnancies, putting their abortion rights in jeopardy.
“Anti-abortion sham clinics or crisis pregnancy centers should not be shown on Google,” the MPs said. “If Google is going to keep presenting these false results. At the very least, the results should be accurately labeled,” they said.
Other health issues have been handled differently by Google. A curated collection of information and reputable sites appears at the top of suicide and sexual assault searches.
In the states surveyed, 28 percent of Google Ads and 37 percent of Google Maps results were for anti-abortion organizations, according to the study group. Some of the centers, but not all, contained disclaimers, according to the letter.