According to The Guardian, Google has reportedly given over $150,000 worth of free advertising to an anti-abortion group that masquerades as pro-choice, suggesting they provide abortion services in their clinics when in reality, their goal is to convince women not to terminate their pregnancies.
The group in question, the Obria Group, runs several clinics that are funded by Catholic organizations. The clinics advertise abortion services on their websites, however, they are fundamentally against abortion and all forms of contraception.
Google offers advertising grants designed to support nonprofit organizations and expand their reach worldwide. In many cases, crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) qualify for these grants, including the Obria Group’s clinics, despite the fact that they don’t offer information on alternatives to abortion.
In 2011, the Obria Group received their first grant from Google, worth $32,000, while in 2015, they received a grant of $120,000. According to public filings, the Obria grant was awarded as part of a program to support non-profit organizations with in-kind donations worth up to $10,000 a month, writes The Guardian.
Although Google grants ads to both organizations that provide abortions and those that are against it, as they make grants available to “a diverse group that represents many different views and different causes,” the search engine tool has certain requirements that must be met by applicants.
Exclusive: Google has given $150,000 in free ads to deceptive anti-abortion group#Obria group runs ads offering abortion services at its medical clinics. The clinics are actually opposed to abortion and all forms of contraception.#ReproductiveJusticehttps://t.co/qW0JIgfYIM
— hope is healthy ???? (@innatevalue) May 13, 2019
One of Google’s requirements for organizations to qualify for their advertising grants is that the ads cannot “intend to deceive users by excluding relevant information or giving misleading information about products, services, or businesses.”
While it would appear that Obria Group does not meet this requirement, neither Google nor the nonprofit in question have commented on the accusations that the clinics are providing deceptive advertisements geared towards pregnant women.
Google has come under intense public scrutiny for continuing to display misleading ads despite being presented with examples of ads that violate their policies.
Alice Huling, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability, says that Google is the first resource a woman looks to when she finds out she has an unplanned pregnancy. She is currently fighting changes for federal rules that determine which clinics can receive federal funding for their services and argues that CPCs should not be allowed to use the Google platform to misinform pregnant women.
“Google should not allow CPCs to use its platform to serve misinformation to pregnant women,” Huling 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.”