United States: Google Maps accused of directing pregnant women to fake abortion clinics

This is an embarrassing report just published by Bloomberg. According to the outlet, Google Maps is misleading pregnant women looking for an abortion clinic, advising them of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) in results. Problem: These health centers, often run by far-right religious organizations, use misinformation and fear to persuade people not to have abortions.

These CPCs would lead patients to believe that abortions may promote breast cancer or mental health problems, or that they have exceeded the legal time limit in the state, even when this is not the case. On average in the United States, about a quarter of the first 10 results for someone searching for “abortion clinics” in Google Maps are for a CPC, Bloomberg reports.

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In many states, the rate is much higher, with five or more CPCs offered in the top 10 results. This is particularly the case in South Carolina and Arkansas, where seven of the top 10 results relate to one of these centers. For Mississippi, they even represent nine results out of 10. And this situation has given rise to edifying testimonials. “When my partner left the room, I mentioned that I was in an abusive relationship. They told me that having a pregnancy could help fix my relationship, that it would inspire my partner to become a man, and that I find a purpose in life,” a young woman told Bloomberg.

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Allegations to which Google hastened to respond, indicating that it strives to present relevant results and has implemented several levels of verification. But for the time being, the efficiency would obviously not be optimal. Although several states have tightened restrictions on the right to abortion or outright banned the procedure since the Supreme Court ruling, polls show that Americans broadly support protecting the right.

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