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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Is Google Reponsible for Anti-Abortion Center Posing as Abortion Provider?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 5:50 PM

click to enlarge Be careful what you search for.
  • Be careful what you search for.

By now, we've accepted the fact that Google relies on our online searches to target advertising. But City Attorney Dennis Herrera is not: The mayoral candidate is asking one San Francisco anti-abortion counseling center to stop web advertisements that pop up when people search online for abortion providers.
Herrera wrote to pregnancy crisis center First Resort, Inc., demanding that the nonprofit registered with the state to "achieve an abortion-free world" stop buying advertising that implies it performs abortions.

The letter is paired with legislation introduced by Malia

Cohen at the Board of Supervisors meeting today that would prohibit

pregnancy service centers from misleading or lying to the public about

the services they provide.

CEO Shari Plunkett has defended First Resort, located in the 450 Sutter medical building in San Francisco and with a second location in Oakland. In a statement in news reports, Plunkett says that the organization doesn't mislead anyone about its motives.


let's see what Google has to say about that. We're guessing "abortion

San Francisco" are likely the first terms a woman would type in when searching for an abortion provider.

Looky here: Lo and behold, the paid ad that appears second to the top is for First Resort. More disturbingly, it shows up as the top item in "Places for abortion near San Francisco, CA."

click to enlarge Let's see here ...
  • Let's see here ...

Herrera said today that this presents a major problem for distressed women faced with unplanned pregnancies. "It's especially problematic because the delays these centers can cause interfere with women's time-sensitive, constitutionally protected right to productive choice."

Plunkett said she looks forward to a "robust discussion" about Cohen's legislation. According to Google, she may have some explaining to do.

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Lauren Smiley


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