Anti-choice group Online for Life has dedicated monies to buying up Google ads so when a woman is googling to find access to a reproductive health/abortion provider, she is intercepted by ads that claim they offer full medical counseling–but are actually for crisis pregnancy centers.
Online for Life writes on their website about this new deceitful and problematic campaign,
The primary place where abortion-determined women and men go to find abortion providers is the Internet. There are over 6 million Internet searches every month for abortion-related information in the United States alone.
However, a large majority of abortion-determined people change their mind and heart when they see their baby during an ultrasound. Seeing the form, movement, and life of a baby—their baby—is a powerful and transformative event.
Online for Life™ uses the Internet to find abortion-determined people who are looking for abortion facilities and instead connects them with life-affirming agencies that use ultrasound technology.
Saving Lives. One click at a time.
The motto should probably read, “manipulating women’s emotions with false facts one click at a time.” Crisis pregnancy centers already come up when you google for abortion services, so this isn’t as much of a new thing as it is just gaining momentum as a forced childbirth strategy.
Other groups are already cheering the success of this campaign and that is partially because most people get their information about health related questions online, making something like this effective and all the more problematic. In many cases people need real life, genuine, factual information about abortion, about their health and about how to gain access to reproductive health technologies because they live in places where they can’t gain access or information easily.
It makes me wonder if the counter strategy is for groups that provide abortion and other health care services to buy more advertising or if we should start tagging pro-choice content “pro-life.” Or larger questions–should Google intervene in some way (I realize problematic thing to suggest, but we are talking about life and death and access to objective information in a lot of cases) or should their be some kind of rating system for health information online–a question that I think is salient in light of how many people don’t have access to health care and turn to the internet for their health needs.
And the unfortunate reality is part of what makes Online for Life’s strategy so effective is because it is backed by legislation that requires sonograms and is continually cutting funding for access to abortion. It just makes it all the more important for the pro-choice movement to have a really well thought out and intentional online strategy.