“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,” Google spokeswoman Lara Levin said. in a press release. “We’re now rolling out an update that makes it easier for people to find places that offer the services they’ve been looking for, or expand their results to see more options.”
Google said it works with authoritative data sources and also calls sites to confirm they offer abortion care. Places that the business is unsure of but still show up in search results will also get a label that says they can’t offer abortion services. Tech Crunch reported the change earlier Thursday.
Google is often the first place people turn when seeking medical help, and crisis pregnancy centers have bought ads and structured their websites to appear in search results for abortion. Supporters called on Google to stop showing centers in search results or provide better labeling. A August report by Bloomberg News found that Google Maps showed results for pregnancy centers in crisis about a quarter of the time when people searched for abortion care.
As more states make the procedure illegal, privacy and abortion advocates have raised concerns that crisis centers may retain data on women who come for medical treatment. abortion care, which could be used by the police in criminal investigations.
Abortion is now banned or almost banned in 15 states, including Tennessee and Texas, whose bans went into effect Thursday. Abortion and privacy advocates have pressured tech companies to be clearer both in labeling abortion providers and explaining how they will respond to requests. of the police regarding data on their users related to abortion.
Last month, Google announced that it wipe off its users’ location histories for visits to abortion clinics and other healthcare providers.