Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Yelp announced Tuesday that it would add a new consumer notice to crisis pregnancy centers to better distinguish them from clinics that provide abortion services.
Starting today, Yelp’s new notices will appear at the top of faith-based and non-faith-based crisis pregnancy center listings in the app, as first reported by Axios. The new feature prominently displays an alert notifying users that these centers “typically provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.”
Since 2018, Yelp says it has recategorized “thousands” of business listings that may mislead abortion seekers searching for care online. Crisis pregnancy centers often market themselves as “clinics” online to pregnant people seeking abortion care. While some of these crisis centers provide limited medical services (like STI testing), generally, their primary goal is to discourage people from terminating a pregnancy.
“Crisis pregnancy centers do not offer abortion services, and it’s been shown that many provide misleading information in an attempt to steer people seeking abortion care to other options,” Noorie Malik, Yelp’s vice president of user operations, wrote in a Tuesday blog post. “With this new consumer notice we’re aiming to further protect consumers from the potential of being misled or confused.”
Yelp’s announcement comes after the Supreme Court’s June reversal of Roe v. Wade, effectively banning the long-standing federal right to abortion. Following the decision, tech companies like Google announced new efforts to combat abortion-related misinformation online. In July, YouTube said it would remove “instructions for unsafe abortion methods.” TikTok rolled out a similar policy shortly after.
But these moderation policies don’t change companies’ ability to protect user data. Earlier this month, Motherboard reported that Facebook turned over private messages that later incriminated a Nebraska mother and daughter for performing an illegal abortion. That case confirmed warnings from abortion and privacy experts who have sounded the alarms for years that ongoing digital surveillance on social media could aid in the criminalization of abortion care.
In its Tuesday blog post, Yelp said that its crisis pregnancy center audits are ongoing. “We’ve continued to regularly audit and investigate these businesses — in 2022 alone, we have proactively evaluated nearly 33,500 U.S. business pages and recategorized nearly 470 business pages as Crisis Pregnancy Centers or Faith-based Crisis Pregnancy Centers (as of August 8, 2022),” Malik said.