Google cracks down on misleading pro-life ads with new policy

Google is changing its policy for abortion-related ads after it received backlash for allegedly giving free advertising to a pro-life group putting out misleading information.

The tech giant said in a blog post ads related to getting an abortion will need to be reviewed before being placed on the search engine in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Depending on how you’re certified, Google will automatically generate one of the following in-ad disclosures for your abortion product or service ads: ‘Provides abortions’ or ‘Does not provide abortions,’” the company said. “The disclosures will show on all Search ad formats and help ensure that these ads transparently provide basic information users need to decide which abortion-related ads are most relevant to them.”

Pro-life advocates protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court. Google announced its changing its policy for abortion-related ads. (AP)

The tech giant changed its policy following a Guardian report that said Google gave $150,000 in free ads to Obria Group, a pro-life nonprofit. The report, published earlier this month, claimed the group would run misleading ads to promote pro-life health clinics also known as crisis pregnancy centers.

The ads that appeared would reportedly make it seem like the clinics offered abortion services when they are aimed to dissuade women from going through with the procedure. The group received Google advertising grants in 2011 and 2015, the Guardian reported.

In 2014, Google removed ads promoting crisis pregnancy centers after receiving pressure from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"Google's leadership in removing the majority of these ads is a victory for truth in advertising and for the women who have been targeted by a deliberate misinformation campaign by crisis pregnancy centers," NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement at the time.

Abortion has become a major topic in the U.S. in recent weeks after several states passed legislation with tighter restrictions on the procedure. Last week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill banning abortion in the state and making it a felony for doctors to perform the procedure, regardless of the circumstances.


"This legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement.

Georgia also passed the “heartbeat” bill that restricts abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — when a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The laws still face several hurdles in court before they go into effect.