Media Literacy

Yelp Is Finally Flagging Crisis Pregnancy Centers That Spread Anti-Abortion Propaganda

The popular review app is now adding a ‘Consumer Notice’ for crisis pregnancy center listings, which do not provide abortion or a full range of health care.

Screenshot of Yelp Consumer Notice. The company is now flagging crisis pregnancy centers, which ofte...

As states strip away safe and legal access to abortion for millions of Americans, many people seeking reproductive healthcare services have turned to their phones to find the closest clinic — which sometimes might be across state lines. Crisis pregnancy centers, or what Planned Parenthood define as “clinics or mobile vans that look like real health centers, but they have a shady, harmful agenda: to scare, shame, or pressure you out of getting an abortion, and to tell lies about abortion, birth control, and sexual health,” have been taking advantage of general uncertainty and listing their “services” under vague names online.

In order to combat misinformation or putting someone seeking abortion services in a potentially dangerous situation, Yelp is now flagging crisis pregnancy center listings with a consumer notice to distinguish them from clinics that provide actual medical services. Starting today, Yelp is adding a consumer notice to both faith-based and non-faith-based crisis pregnancy centers, noting that these organizations “typically provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.”

Yelp has been aware of these crisis pregnancy centers since 2018, when CEO Jeremy Stoppelman directed employees to differentiate them from abortion clinics on the site’s listings.

"After learning about the misleading nature of crisis pregnancy centers back in 2018, I’m grateful Yelp stands behind these efforts to provide consumers with access to reliable information about reproductive health services," Noorie Malik, Yelp’s VP of user operations, told Axios via email.

"It has always felt unjust to me that there are clinics in the U.S. that provide misleading information or conduct deceptive tactics to steer pregnant people away from abortion care if that’s the path they choose to take,” Malik added.

Google employees part of the Alphabet Workers Union are also pushing for the monolithic search engine to remove crisis pregnancy centers, citing their misleading advertising tactics. On top of that, the special worker organization has petitioned the company to protect its users from “having their data used against them and addressing the disinformation and misleading information as it pertains to abortion services and other reproductive healthcare services.”

As of last month, Google automatically deletes location data collected from visits to abortion clinics, fertility centers, domestic violence shelters, and other similar facilities — but that doesn’t mean they will keep data from law enforcement.

Now might be a good time to do some digital decluttering and double-check that you are comfortable with the data being shared with each of your apps and social media platforms.