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Republican AGs Ask Google Not to Limit Search Results for Anti-Abortion Centers

It comes after Democrats asked Google to fix misleading abortion search results.

Google logo going across a smartphone screen
GOP AGs have asked the search engine giant to not suppress anti-abortion search results.
Angela Lang/CNET

A group of Republican attorneys general sent a letter to Google on Thursday asking the search giant not to limit results for anti-abortion centers, as reported earlier by the Associated Press

The letter, addressed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and signed by 17 Republican AGs, said some politicians are pressuring Google to "discriminate against pro-life crisis pregnancy centers" and that complying would "constitute a grave assault on the principle of free speech." The letter goes on to criticize Google for giving up its "don't be evil" and "unbiased access to information" mantras in its code of conduct -- which it did in 2018.

It follows US Sens. Mark Warner and Elissa Slotkin co-signing a letter with 19 other members of Congress last month that asked Google to fix misleading search results that steer women to so-called crisis pregnancy centers. These centers, referred to as "anti-abortion fake clinics" by Warner and Slotkin, aim to persuade people not to seek abortion care.

The GOP letter took issue with the word "fake," saying these centers provide ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and other services at little to no cost. 

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: YouTube to Begin Removing Videos With Abortion Misinformation

The debate over online data privacy around abortion care comes after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision by the Supreme Court last month. The decision removed almost 50 years of precedent for federally protected abortion rights, first established by Roe v. Wade. 

Dobbs v. Jackson kicked the abortion issue back to the states, giving individual states the authority to allow, limit or ban abortions. Missouri lawmakers have presented legislation that would aim to prosecute people traveling out of state for abortion care. 

Considering Google controls over 90% of the internet search market, abortion rights advocates worry its search and location data could be used against those seeking abortion care. It's prompted Google to auto-delete location data after visits to abortion clinics, but doing so has also put the search giant in the middle of a politically hot debate.