Google cracks down on misleading anti-abortion ads in policy update

Google cracks down on misleading anti-abortion ads in policy update
© Stefani Reynolds

Google is changing its health care and medicine advertising policy after it came under fire for reportedly providing $150,000 in free ads to an anti-abortion group.

Starting in June, any advertiser in the United States, United Kingdom or Ireland that wants to run ads using “keywords related to getting an abortion” will have to get certified as one that “either provides abortions or doesn’t provide abortions,” according to a policy update posted this week.

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Advertisers will need to apply for certification, and Google will review and verify organizations’ information once it’s submitted, the announcement says.

It adds that in some cases, Google may automatically generate in-ad disclosures for a company’s ads that says “provides abortions” or “does not provide abortions.”

“This added transparency will help ensure that users have the necessary information to decide which abortion-related ads are most relevant to them,” the policy states.

The update comes after The Guardian reported earlier this month that Google gave tens of thousands of dollars in free advertising to the Southern California-based Obria Group, a nonprofit network of anti-abortion clinics.

The Obria Group describes itself online as a “network of full-service medical clinics,” but it doesn’t provide abortion services and is said to try to convince women not to get them, The Guardian notes.

Founder and CEO Kathleen Bravo started the organization as part of her work to ”dedicate her life to preventing other young mothers from making the same mistake,” according to its website.