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N.Y. AG to Google: Stop directing people seeking abortions to anti-abortion centers

N.Y. AG to Google: Stop directing people seeking abortions to anti-abortion centers
The Google logo is on one of the ceremonial shovels that are on stands before the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center groundbreaking ceremony outside of the Stonewall Inn on Friday in New York City. On Thursday, the New York Attorney General's office asked the Internet giant to correct search results that send people seeking abortion clinics to pregnancy crisis centers. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 30 (UPI) -- The New York Attorney General Office is calling on Google to correct search results that direct people seeking abortions to anti-abortion centers in the state.

In a letter dated Tuesday but made public the following day, Darsana Srinivasan, the attorney general's healthcare bureau chief, wrote the Internet giant to inform it that its Google Maps service is directing people seeking information abortion clinics to crisis pregnancy centers, which "are not healthcare providers and will not provide abortion counseling or abortion referrals."

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Srinivasan said that Google often fails to distinguish between facilities that offer abortions services and those that don't, and directs individuals seeking information about the medical services to organizations that are called crisis pregnancy centers.

"CPCs exist solely to intercept and dissuade pregnant people from making fully informed decisions about their healthcare such as the choice to obtain an abortion. Including these organizations in a list for an individual seeking abortion services is dangerous and misleading," Srinivasan wrote.

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The letter was sent after the Supreme Court last week overturned the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that provided federal protections for abortion. Since then, so-called trigger abortion bans passed sometimes years ago by 13 states in anticipation of the ruling to be overturned have gone into effect or will soon, some of which have been challenged in court.

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According to the Guttmacher Institute, 26 states are considered certain or likely to ban abortion in the wake of Roe.

Srinivasan wrote to Google that New York, which has robust abortion rights protections, estimates that it will see an 11-13% increase in people from states where abortion is now banned seeking the medical practice within its borders.

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"Given this, it is key to ensure that pregnant people have the ability to access the abortion care they need," Srinivasan wrote.

According to the New York Attorney General Office, Google was made aware of this issue and promised to address it as far back as 2018. However, a recent test search for local abortion clinics of Google Maps by the office in Binghamton, N.Y., produced a list that included several crisis pregnancy centers.

Attorney General Letitia James is calling on Google to immediately implement measures to ensure that abortion-related search results show local facilities that have been confirmed to provide abortions, her office said.

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"New Yorkers, and others traveling to the state, should trust that Google Maps will provide accurate information and direct them to real and safe care," James said in a Wednesday statement. "My office will do whatever is necessary to work with Google to make these changes and ensure that people can locate the reproductive healthcare facilities that they need."

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Demonstrators gather at Supreme Court after Roe vs. Wade overturned

Abortion opponents celebrate after the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, ending federal abortion protection in Washington on Friday. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

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