A group of Republican attorneys general, led by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai warning the company to not limit the appearance of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in abortion-related search results.
The letter, dated July 21, was a refutation to an earlier letter sent by a group of Democratic members of Congress urging Google to suppress search results for CPCs, or what they call “anti-abortion fake clinics.”
“Complying with these demands would constitute a grave assault on the principle of free speech,” the attorneys general cautioned. “‘Unbiased access to information,’ while no longer a component of Google’s corporate creed, is still what Americans expect from your company. ‘[S]tudies have found web users are more likely to find and trust news through search than social media sites.’ … Suppressing pro-life and pro-mother voices at the urging of government officials would violate the most fundamental tenet of the American marketplace of ideas.”
According to a 2020 report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, more than 1.8 million women and men were served by CPCs in 2019, resulting in more than $266 million in free services offered to patients. Services included STD testing, ultrasounds, prenatal care, parenting classes, essential baby items (e.g., diapers, wipes, clothing, car seats, strollers), post-abortive support, etc.
“These pregnancy centers serve women, no matter who they are or what they believe,” the attorneys general stressed. “… We … hope you will decide that Google’s search results must not be subject to left-wing political pressure, which would actively harm women seeking essential assistance.”
If Google caves to the demands of Democrats, the attorneys generals threatened to “avail … all lawful and appropriate means of protecting the rights of … constituents,” including investigating if Google’s actions violate anti-trust laws; examining whether Google’s conduct amounts to an unlawful act of religious discrimination; and considering new nondiscrimination legislation.
“Political pressure should not dictate what appears in Google searches,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a tweet. “Censoring crisis pregnancy centers is wrong. Google has two choices—protect the marketplace of ideas or face the legal consequences.”