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January 1, Google Just Made It Easier to Get an Abortion



Google will soon implement a new update that will make it easier for abortion seekers to find a clinic.

The company had faced pressure from Democratic lawmakers over misleading search results to people seeking abortion clinics. The update will default to only showing verified abortion providers in local search results.

Google announced the update in a letter to Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI).

“We continue to update our Local Search services for local health-related queries, including those related to abortion services, to improve the accuracy and relevance,” wrote Mark Isakowitz, Google’s Vice President of U.S. and Canada Government Affairs and Public Policy.

“When someone in the US searches for health care providers that provide abortions — for example, using the query ‘abortion clinics near me’ — the Local Search results box will display facilities that have been verified to provide abortions.”

A Google spokesperson told CNBC that the update would also apply to other medical-related search queries, showing users only verified locations for searches such as veterans hospitals.

“When people turn to Google to find local information, we aim to help them easily explore the range of places available so they can determine which are most helpful to them,” the Google spokesperson said in a statement.

“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. We’re now rolling out an update that makes it easier for people to find places that offer the services they’ve searched for, or broaden their results to see more options.”

Warner addressed the update in a statement, applauding the move.

“I welcome the changes that Google has announced today so that women seeking abortion services aren’t directed towards fake clinics that traffic in misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services,” Warner said.

“Importantly, this isn’t about silencing voices or restricting speech – it’s about returning search results that accurately address a user’s query and giving users information that is relevant to their searches.”

Source: CNBC

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