WASHINGTON (TND) — Google will reportedly begin indicating whether a healthcare facility that shows up on its search engine or maps feature provides abortions.
If Google receives confirmation that a facility provides abortions, a label stating "provides abortion" will be attached to its listings on Google Maps and Google's search engine, according to TechCrunch. If Google does not have explicit confirmation, relevant listings could say "might not provide abortions," the outlet indicated.
Google told TechCrunch it determines whether a listing provides abortion services in a variety of ways, including via direct communication with the entity and via working with authoritative data sources.
The move by Google comes after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, putting the decision to restrict abortions back in the hands of the states. As a result, some states have chosen to do so, making abortion access more restrictive in some areas.
Google's move also comes after Bloomberg released a report charging Google with "misleading" users looking for abortion providers by listing anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers alongside searches for healthcare providers that offer abortions.
TechCrunch asked Google if it plans to identify crisis pregnancy centers with the “might not provide abortions” label, or if those will only be instituted when Google is unclear what type of services a healthcare provider offers.
Google insisted the move was "not about categorizing the places themselves or labeling specific types of organizations," according to TechCrunch. Rather, Google noted, the "might not provide abortions label" could be added to a range of different places in the area that don't offer that service.
“When people turn to Google to find local information, we aim to help them easily explore the range of places available so they can determine which are most helpful to them,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement. “For a number of categories where we’ve received confirmation that places offer specific services, we’ve been working for many months on more useful ways to display those results. We’re now rolling out an update that makes it easier for people to find places that offer the services they’ve searched for, or broaden their results to see more options. We followed our standard testing and evaluation process to confirm that these updates are more helpful for people.”
The National Desk (TND) reached out to Google to confirm the move and to inquire about the perception it may create. TND did not immediately hear back, but if a response is received, this story will be updated.