People who come across Crisis Pregnancy Centers on Yelp will now receive a disclaimer explaining what the center does not provide: abortion services.
Yelp’s policy change means it now flags centers, which often try to dissuade patients from having abortions, as places that “provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals on site. “. The rule will apply to religious and secular facilities in the United States and Canada.
“The trust and safety of our community is a top priority, which is why providing consumers with reliable and useful information to help them inform their decisions is essential to our mission – this includes access to reliable information on the reproductive health services,” said Noorie Malik, Yelp’s Vice President of User Operations. She said the update is an effort to “further protect consumers from being misled or confused.”
Crisis centers, known as CPCs, vastly outnumber abortion providers in the United States and often locate near existing abortion clinics. According to a 2015 report by pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America, there were about 2,500 CPCs in the United States and at least 23 states have laws that support CPCs. In contrast, the number of open abortion clinics has declined in recent years, due to state-level restrictions and bans. The United States Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade has accelerated this trend: 43 clinics in seven states have stopped providing abortion care due to trigger laws and bans, the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research group, reported in July. . .
Search engines have faced increasing pressure from abortion rights groups to crack down on CPC advertising. In 2019, Google updated its policies so that any company wishing to advertise on abortion-related keywords must indicate whether or not they provide abortion services. Google Maps also shows whether a clinic provides abortion services or is a “pregnancy care center.” Even so, a Bloomberg analysis of Google Maps listings found that at least a quarter of results related to a search for “abortion clinic” were for CPCs.
US pro-abortion and anti-abortion lawmakers have pressured Google over its CPC policies in recent months.
In June, Democratic senators and members of Congress wrote a letter asking Google CEO Sundar Pichai to further limit CPC results when a user searches for abortion services. “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 said. They added that if the platform decides to keep these results, they should be “labeled appropriately”.
Meanwhile, Republican attorneys general in 17 US states have asked Google to ensure the search giant does not suppress results from crisis pregnancy centers in favor of abortion clinics.
On Yelp, a site used to find businesses and reviews, search results routinely go blank if someone searches for abortion services in a place where there are none, a 2019 Rewire report showed. .
Yelp said it reclassified 470 businesses as crisis pregnancy centers last year. The new disclaimer will ultimately help both people seeking pregnancy services and those seeking abortion care, Malik said.
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