Start­ing next month, Google will enforce new poli­cies for ads relat­ed to abor­tion in the Unit­ed States, Unit­ed King­dom and Ire­land. Google will now require adver­tis­ers that want to run ads with abor­tion-relat­ed key­words to apply for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as an orga­ni­za­tion that does, or does not, pro­vide abor­tions. If their ads are approved, they will run with an auto­mat­i­cal­ly-gen­er­at­ed dis­claimer iden­ti­fy­ing which cat­e­go­ry they fall into.

The announce­ment of the new poli­cies comes less than two weeks after the Guardian report­ed that Google had pro­vid­ed $150,000 in free adver­tis­ing through its grant pro­gram for non-prof­its to the Obria Group, an anti-abor­tion group that runs cri­sis preg­nan­cy cen­ters, or orga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide ser­vices like preg­nan­cy tests, ultra­sounds and coun­sel­ing, but ulti­mate­ly seek to deter peo­ple from get­ting abor­tions.

Accord­ing to the Guardian, the ads placed by the Obria Group were mis­lead­ing and made it appear as though their cen­ters pro­vide abor­tions, a tac­tic used by many cri­sis preg­nan­cy cen­ters. Google’s new poli­cies also come as sev­er­al states, includ­ing Mis­souri, Alaba­ma, Geor­gia, Mis­sis­sip­pi, Ken­tucky and Ohio have passed, or are seek­ing to pass, extreme­ly restric­tive laws lim­it­ing access to abor­tion.

Google did not men­tion cri­sis preg­nan­cy cen­ters or the new leg­is­la­tion in its pol­i­cy update announce­ment, but the new rules may help lim­it the appear­ance of mis­lead­ing ads. Before run­ning ads with abor­tion-relat­ed key­words, adver­tis­ers must first sub­mit an appli­ca­tion to Google say­ing whether or not they pro­vide abor­tions. If it is approved, their ads will run with auto­mat­i­cal­ly-gen­er­at­ed in-ad dis­claimers that says the adver­tis­er either “pro­vides abor­tions” or “does not pro­vide abor­tions.” The dis­clo­sures will appear on the ads across all Search ad for­mats.

Google’s exist­ing poli­cies about abor­tion-relat­ed ads, which list coun­tries where such ads are not allowed, or only allowed to run on a lim­it­ed basis, will remain in place. (Abor­tion-relat­ed ads don’t appear on the Google Dis­play Net­work.)

Google has already been crit­i­cized for allow­ing mis­lead­ing ads relat­ed to abor­tion, includ­ing five years ago after an inves­ti­ga­tion by NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­i­can into ads for cri­sis preg­nan­cy cen­ters, the same issue report­ed by the Guardian this month. Mis­in­for­ma­tion about abor­tion is ram­pant, so this is a step in the right direc­tion, but it remains to be seen how effec­tive Google’s new pol­i­cy will be in com­bat­ing a long-stand­ing prob­lem.

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