SC among states demanding Google not limit anti-abortion clinic search results

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 11:37 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 12:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina is one of 17 states that is asking Google to reject a request from federal lawmakers to limit anti-abortion pregnancy clinics in abortion-related search results.

Attorney General Alan Wilson sent a multistate letter to Google Thursday expressing concerns about “recent political pressure” on Google to “discriminate against crisis pregnancy centers in search results, online advertising, and other products like Google Maps,” a release from his office states.

Wilson’s letter is in response to a letter sent by nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan), asking Google for the limitations, the release states.

“There’s no legitimate reason for Google to use its corporate power to discriminate against crisis pregnancy centers and hurt the women who go there for health services,” Attorney General Wilson said. “If these abortion advocates are really pro-choice, why are they trying to eliminate one of the choices pregnant women have?”

In their letter, the attorneys general promise to investigate potential violations of antitrust laws and religious discrimination if Google were to honor the request from the lawmakers, Wilson’s office said.

Sometimes known as crisis pregnancy centers, these clinics are often religiously affiliated and counsel clients against having an abortion.

“Crisis pregnancy centers are private charities that show compassion and practical support to women in a time of need,” the release from Wilson’s office states. “In 2019, crisis pregnancy centers served over 1.8 million clients and provided services valued at over $266 million for little or no cost. These included ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, STD testing, parenting and prenatal education classes, post-abortive care, recovery counseling, free or reduced-cost diapers, baby clothes, car seats, and strollers.”

The attorneys general say suppressing such search results would squelch what they call “pro-life and pro-mother voices.”

Attorneys general from Virginia and Kentucky led the letter. In addition to South Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia also joined the letter.

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