By Tony Perkins
Family Research Council — The internet may not take sides in the abortion debate, but Google sure has. The mega-corporation must be going to the Mozilla Firefox school of political censorship, where companies learn to silence speech in the name of liberal activism. Weeks after Mozilla canned its CEO for believing in natural marriage, Google is elbowing out other users: pro-lifers.
After heavy lobbying from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the search engine announced that it was banning ads from pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) for supposedly violating the policy on “deceptive advertising.” NARAL, which makes a living ignoring the facts, had convinced the company the ads weren’t “factually supportable” because they popped up when users searched for things like “abortion clinics.”
But that’s not because these centers were lying about their services — it’s because they, like most businesses, pay to have their ads pop up when certain keywords are used. It’s no different than Coke, or any other competitor, bidding to advertise when people search for Pepsi. Like it or not, that’s how the free market works. (Or, in Google’s case, how it used to work.) Obviously, Google isn’t — nor can it be — the authority on everything it advertises. It can’t possibly monitor the effectiveness of every product, the accuracy of every ad, or vouch for every business’s integrity.
That’s why this is so outrageous. It’s a targeted attack on a movement whose only crime is helping women and children. And unfortunately, it’s an attack launched — not from the government — but the private sector, which should want to foster, not frustrate, free speech and free markets. Still, the company insisted, “We’re constantly reviewing ads to ensure they comply with our [policies], which include strict guidelines related to ad relevance, clarity, and accuracy. If we find violations we’ll take the appropriate actions — including account disablings and blacklists — as quickly as possible.”
If that’s the case, then why isn’t Planned Parenthood blocked? They lie on their own website about providing mammograms — yet Cecile Richards’s group isn’t subject to the same kind of scrutiny. Why? Because Google’s decision isn’t based on facts or fairness. It’s just an excuse to marginalize and exclude the Christian conservative message.
A message, apparently, that continues to resonate with the American people. If it didn’t, why would abortion groups go to such great lengths to silence it? As these centers reach out through technology with the truth about life, women are beginning to realize they have more options than abortion. And that’s exactly what liberals are afraid of. While groups like Planned Parenthood are inventing “wars on women” to extort more money from taxpayers, pregnancy resource centers are actually helping actually helping more than two million people every year. And unlike Planned Parenthood, they don’t do it with billion of government dollars but the charitable donations and the support of 71,000 volunteers.
For now, Google can sideline pregnancy resource centers, but it can’t stop people from searching for the real facts on life — and caring for people in need.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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