Since the Supreme Court handed down its ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the abortion debate has crept into many parts of American society. It has created ripples in the corporate world, with companies instituting programs related to the issue. Big Tech has not gone untouched. Google, the world’s largest search engine company, finds itself caught in a tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to how its technology should be used by consumers to find information related to pregnancy and termination.
Google Torn Between Two Parties
Recently, it was reported that congressional Democrats were pressuring Google to “limit the appearance” of advertisements and websites related to crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life organizations. These groups work to provide alternatives to abortion for mothers seeking help and have been instrumental in persuading women to keep their babies while offering support for them post-birth. Several Democratic lawmakers tried to convince the search engine company that most of these groups are tricking young women seeking abortions into clicking on their websites to convince them to take another course of action.
But now, it is Republican officials who are pushing back on Democrats’ apparent efforts to suppress search results for pregnancy centers by pressing Google to refuse Democrats’ request. “Complying with these demands would constitute a grave assault on the principle of free speech,” a group of 17 Republican attorneys general said in a letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai. “Suppressing pro-life and pro-mother voices at the urging of government officials would violate the most fundamental tenet of the American marketplace of ideas.”
This is not the first foray Google has made into the abortion conversation. YouTube, one of its subsidiaries, announced July 21 it would begin taking down content that spreads “misinformation” about the topic. “Starting today and ramping up over the next few weeks, we will remove content that provides instructions for unsafe abortion methods or promotes false claims about abortion safety under our medical misinformation policies,” the company declared. Google also said it would try to shield the identities of women seeking abortions by deleting the location history of those who visit providers.
Google has shown itself to be a markedly left-leaning organization time and time again. Its leadership has embraced a number of far-leftist causes, and the company has even been accused of deliberately skewing its algorithm to favor campaign emails coming from Democrats over those coming from Republicans. But in this case, the tech giant’s bias could mean the difference between life or death if it chooses to tamp down on search results for pregnancy centers.
Even if there is truth to the claim that some pregnancy centers use deceptive means to lure mothers into their offices, it is not reasonable to punish groups conducting themselves within the bounds of ethics. The fact that Democrats are trying so hard to minimize the influence of crisis pregnancy centers in a post-Roe world is telling: They appear to understand that these groups will become more necessary in the months to come. To put it simply, they want to ensure that Planned Parenthood, one of their greatest allies, does not have to face competition in the battle over unborn children.