Google has issued new regulations that will now require Organizations running ads on abortion to certify whether they actually offer abortion services.
The regulations are set to be in effect beginning June and those verified will have certifications inside the ads that allow viewers to know whether the organization “actually provides abortion” or “does not provide abortions,” to prevent viewers from being misled. However, the disclosures will only be a necessary requirement in the UK, US, and Ireland.
The stringent requirement came following last week’s report by media outlets saying that Google has provided grants to a group of pregnancy clinics claiming that they offered abortions, but were actually part of an anti-abortion lobby group. The groups have previously been accused of misleading pregnant women by pretending to offer abortion services while in reality leading them away from information or services they are seeking.
In an effort to curb the vice, the tech giant has removed some pregnancy centers’ ads over claims of providing misleading information. The issue has also been extended to results on Google maps, but that’s been on a case-by-case basis.
This new policy is expected to prevent this form of deception in the very first place when it comes to Google search results. However, the success and efficiency of this policy in rooting out these false advertisements are heavily reliant on Google’s commitment to properly vet these disclosures although as per now its unclear how thorough the process will be.
Google says that in order to qualify, organizations will have to provide abortions as their own clinics after which their advertisements will have the “will be reviewed” tag as a confirmation that their declaration is accurate.
The new policy, however, wnt prevent Anti-abortion organizations from twisting search and Maps results to suit their own agendas. But considering that adverts are typically the first few results on any given result in the search engine, this could work better towards directing people towards the information that they are actually looking for.
Google’s new policy comes amidst a wave of legislative changes on abortion cutting across many US states. Several states have already enacted almost complete bans on abortion, making the provision of such services illegal. In that light, classifying organizations as abortion-friendly and anti-abortion could help direct women to the resources they need. But if one of these states decides to take further action, Google might be forced to place restrictions on these ads. Google already prohibits abortion ads in many countries where local laws deem abortion a criminal act.