Democrats Seek To Suppress Pro-Life Google Search Results

Abortion advocates stage a protest outside Associated Justice Samuel Alito's house on May 09, 2022, in Alexandria, Va. / Getty Images
June 20, 2022

Congressional Democrats wrote to Google’s parent company on Friday to pressure the search engine to suppress results that offer alternatives to abortion.

Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.), and 19 other lawmakers wrote urging Google to "limit the appearance" or add "user friendly disclaimers" of pro-life clinics in search results. The Democrats said they want to "ensure women seeking health care services are directed to the basic information they request."

Animosity toward pro-life pregnancy centers and offices has increased since a draft opinion of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health decision was leaked in May, showing a plan to overturn the original 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Dozens of crisis pregnancy centers have been vandalized since the leak. Many of these attacks have not been federally investigated, as the Justice Department official responsible has refused to intervene.

The Democrats' letter cites a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit that has advocated for big tech censorship in the United Kingdom. Lobbyists who have worked for CCDH have also lobbied for Microsoft and green energy companies. The study logged Google search results for "abortion clinic near me" and "abortion pill" in states with abortion trigger laws. 

Researchers recorded search results that qualify as "anti-abortion fake clinics." Planned Parenthood defines "fake clinics" as "clinics or mobile vans that look like real health centers, but they have a shady, harmful agenda: to scare, shame, or pressure you out of getting an abortion ... their goal is to spread misinformation and propaganda."

The research found that 11 percent of search results and 37 percent of Google Maps results led to so-called fake clinics which, according to Planned Parenthood, may offer "free pregnancy tests, abortion counseling, pre-abortion screenings, abortion education, post-abortion care, or after-abortion help."

The lawmakers said CCDH’s findings "undermines the integrity of Google’s search results," adding, "if Google must continue showing these misleading results in search results and Google Maps, the results should, at the very least, be appropriately labeled."