In the wake of Roe v. calf Google announced that it is making it easier to use its Maps and Search products to find medical providers offering abortions. When someone searches for specific services and Google has confirmation that a location offers those services, it will be clearly flagged in search and Google Maps. For example, Google notes that this is already happening when you search for electric vehicle charging stations or a specific brand of COVID-19 vaccine, and now for veterans’ hospitals and health facilities that offer abortions. As you can see in the image above, searching for “abortion clinics near me” brings up a list of locations that Google has verified offer abortion services.
While Google doesn’t say it directly, this appears to be an attempt to avoid sending people seeking medical care to so-called “abortion crisis centers” or anti-abortion centers. For locations that Google doesn’t have confirmation for, it instead says “may not offer abortions,” which serves as a passive but important red flag for anyone looking for treatment. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that anti-abortion centers could not be forced to recognize abortion as an option, something that outsources this work to private companies like Google.
Earlier this week, Yelp announced it would take a similar but more decisive step by putting up warning signs at anti-abortion centers; These warnings indicate that such facilities “may not have licensed medical professionals on-site.” Google says its update has been in the works for months, but it comes at a time when employees have said the company needs to do more to project both users and its contract workers into a post-Roe world.
The fact that Google receives endorsements from centers offering abortions should make both the search results and the Google Maps results more useful. A Google spokesperson said: “We get confirmation that places offer a particular service in a number of ways, including regular direct calls to companies and working with reliable data sources.” Abortion providers are labeled as actually offering this service. Google also makes it easy to broaden your search if you can’t find relevant results nearby, with the prompt “look further afield,” another tool that can help people look for abortion services where clinics are rare.
Google says these changes are rolling out today, although they won’t be immediately visible to all Google users until a little later.
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https://www.engadget.com/google-search-maps-abortion-provider-confirmation-170034699.html?src=rss Google Search and Maps results will confirm if a medical center offers abortions