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  • Google had awarded US$150,000 in free advertisement to anti-abortion group.

    Google had awarded US$150,000 in free advertisement to anti-abortion group. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 May 2019
Opinion

Google was slammed previously after a pro-choice organization found out that it was running deceptive ads for anti-abortion clinics.

Google has been accused of giving a grant of nearly US$150,000 in free advertising to an anti-abortion group that runs an ad saying they provide abortion services but in reality, they try to dissuade “abortion-minded women” from going forward with pregnancy termination according to a report published Monday by The Guardian. 

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The Oberia Group whose clinics are funded by Catholic Organizations, have received US$120,000 Google advertising grant in 2015 and in 2011 it received almost US$32,000 according to a public filing.

These grants are given by Google to support nonprofits around the world.

The tech giant was slammed previously after a pro-choice organization found out that it was running deceptive ads for anti-abortion clinics. Yet the company gave the grant to the Oberia Group in 2015.

Clinics, for whom Google ran ads, are closely related to Planned Parenthood Clinics and provide medical treatments, prenatal counseling, etc, but their main aim is to discourage women from abortion and do not offer alternative treatments.

Oberia is similar and the grant by Google shows that the internet giant has become a central marketing tool for such organizations. Choose Like Marketing, an organization which helps pro-life crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) encourages its clients to apply for Google Grants.

According to a screenshot obtained by The Guardian of an online chat room exchange between a Choose Life Marketing employee and Google, the employee had said that two centers’ websites were rejected by Google because they were not secure and not because of their contents. The employee also encouraged the organization to re-apply for the grant.

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According to Alica Huling, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability a watchdog organization regarding pregnancy and abortion said that Google is the first choice to get information for women with an unplanned pregnancy.

“Google should not allow CPCs to use its platform to serve misinformation to pregnant women,” she said. “Google’s business model is predicated on serving ads to customers, and the company is clearly uninterested in taking the steps necessary to crack down on misleading ads placed by CPCs.”

Google did not comment on the Oberia grant but said that all recipients had to have complied with the companies policies like not providing misinformation. The company prohibits ads that “intend to deceive users by excluding relevant information or giving misleading information about products, services, or businesses.”

Oberia came under scrutiny in recent past after it received an award of US$1.7 million in federal funds known as Title X funding meant for healthcare providers offering family planning services.

The group only offers “natural family planning” methods instead of birth control or condoms in its clinics.

Google promised to address the issue in 2014 but it still features ads for clinics that are deceptive in their advertisements.

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