April 28, 2014; Washington Post

In a significant win, NARAL Pro-Choice America has successfully convinced Google to take down ads from some pregnancy crisis centers on the grounds that they are deceptive and therefore in violation of Google’s policies.

NARAL has apparently been lobbying for this for some time, alerting Google to the specific content. “We have no problem with crisis pregnancy centers advertising online; we have no problem with their existing,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL—but, she says, ads that include text indicating that the centers provide abortions when they do not are misleading, since the centers are set up to dissuade women from abortion.

NARAL found that when people search for abortion clinics, they came up with the crisis centers 79 percent of the time. “Anyone looking for abortion services should be able to depend on their search engine to provide them with accurate resources,” said Hogue in a statement. “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.”

Google policy requires that ads be “factually supportable,” truthful and accurate or they may be disabled or blacklisted. Google said that it had screened the ads NARAL had objected to against those policy standards. Apparently, two-thirds of them have been taken down.—Ruth McCambridge