Google Admits Ads For “Crisis Pregnancy Ads” Are Deceptive Advertising

Google has agreed to remove search ads for some “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) after admitting that the ads, which come up in searches for abortion, violate its policy against deceptive advertising.

CPCs are centers which portray themselves as women’s health clinics offering a range of treatment options for pregnant women, sometimes including abortion. But often the centers aren’t actually staffed by doctors and instead have counselors who try to dissuade women from terminating pregnancies, even telling them lies. They are frequently located near actual abortion clinics, so as to confuse women. (The HBO documentary “12th & Delaware” is a good primer on how CPCs operate.) Research by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL-Pro Choice America) found that nearly 80 percent of the CPCs that advertise on Google claim to provide abortions and thus come up in a search for “abortion clinic,” but don’t actually offer abortions or referrals to abortion clinics or doctors in reality.

The Washington Post reported that NARAL has been monitoring Google’s AdWords ads for CPCs, which appear when anyone searches online. They presented their findings to Google, quite rightly pointing out that many of the CPCs ads are not “factually supportable” in agreement with Google’s advertising policy. Google agreed.

Illyse Hogue, president of NARAL, explained their issue in this case is not the existence of CPCs, but the fraudulent ads that are misleading and deceiving pregnant women. “We have no problem with crisis pregnancy centers advertising online; we have no problem with their existing,” Hogue told the Post. “That is their right in America.”

Municipalities around the country including San Francisco and New York City have also been regulating CPCs, requiring them to state that they do not provide abortions, emergency contraception or prenatal care.

[Washington Post]

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