New York wants Google to remove pregnancy centers from search results

New York

New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to Google last week, requesting that pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) — also known as crisis pregnancy centers — be removed from search results for abortion services. James expressed concerns that women seeking abortions might mistakenly contact or visit pregnancy resource centers for care.

In the letter, the attorney general took issue with PRCs being included in abortion search queries on Google Maps, noting that Google was made aware of the “issue” in 2018 and 2019, but the issue remained unresolved. She claims pregnancy resource centers cannot be characterized as health care institutions, simply because they do not provide abortions or abortion referrals.

“[PRC]s exist solely to intercept and dissuade pregnant people from making fully informed decisions about their healthcare such as the choice to obtain an abortion,” the letter stated. “Including these organizations in a list for an individual seeking abortion services is dangerous and misleading.”

This letter is just the latest onslaught against pregnancy resource centers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, sending the issue of abortion back to the states to decide. In one case, after the opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case was leaked, two pro-life pregnancy centers in Denton, Texas, were vandalized with radical pro-abortion messages. In another incident, the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, voted to ban pregnancy resource centers for not providing abortions. Numerous other pregnancy centers have been vandalized as well.

READ: New York leaders launch ‘unjust investigation’ into pregnancy center instead of its attackers

Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, the attorney general is afraid those traveling to the state for abortions will mistakenly go to a pregnancy resource center, stating, “With the expectation that New York will be seeing an increasing number of pregnant people from out of state seeking abortion services in our state — often traveling here at great financial cost and inconvenience — it is imperative that pregnant people are receiving accurate information and are able to obtain the medical services they need efficiently and with minimal confusion.”

The petition to Google is just the latest in a string of actions taken by the AG to expand access to abortion in New York. The AG’s Pro Bono Task Force on Reproductive Health launched a legal hotline last week for those seeking information about their legal rights to access and provide abortions. She also joined a national coalition of 22 AGs in reaffirming their commitment to fight for the “right” to abortion access.

Abortion proponents’ claims that pregnancy resource centers are “misleading” and do not provide real care are not based in fact. Pregnancy resource centers provide a lifeline for pregnant women in dire situations, offering free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, baby supplies, parenting classes, and information on adoption, medical care, and financial aid. Pregnancy resource centers do not offer abortion but instead offer life-affirming options, and exist to assist women through every step of their pregnancy and beyond.

Approximately 86% of these centers receive no public funding at all; most exist solely with the help of private donations from individuals in their local communities. Approximately 79% of PRCs provide some form of medical services, such as obstetric ultrasounds.

READ: New York governor wants Facebook to ‘curb the spread’ of the pro-life message

And most women who receive services from a pregnancy resource center are happy with the experience. Live Action News recently shared some of their stories. One woman, Varina, talked about how pregnancy resource centers helped her with the moral and physical support she needed, from free ultrasounds to maternity clothes and even counseling and parenting classes. Another woman, Crystal K, spoke of the kind counselors and the help she received with parenting classes and baby clothes and equipment.

Nearly 3,000 pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. alone provide “​​essential medical, education and support services” to millions every year at little to no cost. The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of SBA Pro-Life America, reports that in 2019 the nearly 3,000 PRCs in the United States supported two million people at an estimated value of nearly $270 million. Those services included more than 732,000 pregnancy tests, 486,000 free ultrasounds, 160,200 STI/STD tests, 291,000 clients attending parenting and prenatal education programs, 21,000 clients receiving after-abortion support, 881,000 students attending sexual risk avoidance education presentations, 1.3 million packs of diapers and two million baby outfits.

What abortion advocates fail to note is that many women choose abortion because they feel they have no other choice — they lack the support and resources to continue their pregnancies and later support a child. PRCs provide the emotional and material support women need that is not being offered elsewhere.

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