The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), an aggressive activist group committed to the the federally enforced “right” of women to murder their pre-born babies, has reportedly pressured Google to ban some pro-life ads, particularly those that promote crisis pregnancy centers as an alternative to abortion. World magazine reported that NARAL has been pestering Google for months to take down ads by some crisis pregnancy centers, insisting that they had been falsely claiming to provide abortions when in reality they offer life-ensuring alternatives to the murderous procedure. On April 28, NARAL claimed victory, with Google supposedly removing “from its search results more than two-thirds of ads placed by [crisis pregnancy centers] for allegedly violating its policy against 'misleading, inaccurate, and deceitful ads' that 'hurt everyone,'” reported World.
Specifically, reported LifeNews.com, NARAL objected to the fact that Google had allowed pro-life pregnancy centers to compete with actual abortion businesses for use of the key search term “abortion clinics.” LifeNews reported that “according to NARAL, people using Google to search for 'abortion clinics' got ads advertising the crisis pregnancy centers about 79 percent of the time — which cuts into the profit margins of abortion clinics.”
According to the Washington Post, Google said its policy demands that online ads must be “factually supportable,” as well as truthful and accurate. “Advertisers who do not comply with Google policies may see their ads rejected or their domains disabled or accounts suspended,” reported the Post.
In a statement, Google insisted that it had merely applied its policy standards to the ads in question, leading it to ban some of the pro-life ads. “We're constantly reviewing ads to ensure they comply with our AdWords policies, which include strict guidelines related to ad relevance, clarity, and accuracy,” explained the Google statement. “If we find violations, we'll take the appropriate actions — including account disablings and blacklists — as quickly as possible.”
In a press release, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said that an individual “looking for abortion services should be able to depend on their search engine to provide them with accurate resources. Anything less is aiding and abetting ideologically driven groups with a calculated campaign to lie to and shame women making one of the most important decisions of our lives.”
Hogue thanked Google for complying with NARAL's request. “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,” she said, adding that NARAL would continue to pressure Google so that abortion-seeking women are “directed to the resources and services they are seeking when they search online.”
National Right to Life president Carol Tobias issued a statement noting that countless women are helped through crisis pregnancy and resource centers, and Google's actions would hurt them. “Google is waging a war on women by limiting knowledge of the options and services available to women,” Tobias said. “Google's decision to refuse ads by the centers is unconscionable.”
However, some pro-life groups are questioning the extent to which Google has actually banned the online ads in question. Brian Fisher of the group Online for Life, which helps to place online pro-life ads, told the Christian Post that he had not yet seen any evidence that Google had made any alterations in running such ads. “I'm not aware that [Google has] made any decision or changes,” Fisher said. “As best as we can tell, Google has said they're abiding by their own policies which we have been abiding by for years. We don't see anything in the material that we've reviewed to suggest that Google's made any decisions that are concerning to us.”
Fisher also staunchly defended online crisis pregnancy center ads showing up on Google and elsewhere, insisting that they are not misleading, but are following the prevalent free market model. “In most cities if you were to type in 'Ford,' you'll also see ads for Dodge or Chevy,” he told the Christian Post. “If you were to type in 'Colonial Life Insurance,' Geico will show up. It's at the heart of advertising and marketing in a free market society to be able to advertise something that is a competitor, if you will, to another product or service. It's customarily done. Google knows it and allows it, because they are a free market vendor as well and that's just part of the freedom of the country that we live in.”
Deb Myles of Heartbeat International, a pro-life group that helps to establish crisis pregnancy and adoption centers, noted that “Google's advertising policy has always prohibited 'misleading, inaccurate and deceitful ads. So does the Commitment of Care and Competence (CCC), the ethical guidelines promulgated by Heartbeat International and every other national pregnancy center organization. Our CCC states: 'All of our advertising and communication are truthful and honest and accurately describe the services we offer.'” Myles added that “Heartbeat International is well-versed in using Google AdWords effectively with honesty and integrity, and we are thankful for every life saved because of our Option Line's reach through Google.”
Drew Belsky of Live Action, another pro-life group, also noted that there exists a “stark contrast” between what abortion providers are advertising online and what a crisis pregnancy center is offering through its ads. “On the one hand the abortion center is certainly selling something, an abortion — the killing of a human being,” Belsky told the Christian Post. “A woman walks in there and she pays for that procedure.” On the other hand, “pregnancy centers technically aren't selling something. They almost always offer their resources for free."