Attorneys general from 17 states sent a letter to Google seeking an answer on whether the company has censored search results to eliminate crisis pregnancy centers after some Democrat lawmakers urged the company to alter search results.
The letter, led by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, comes after a letter sent by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and signed by other legislators, lamenting the fact that searching for abortion clinics will bring up search results that include crisis pregnancy centers.
“Google should not be displaying anti-abortion fake clinics or crisis pregnancy centers in search results for users that are searching for an ‘abortion clinic’ or ‘abortion pill.’ If Google must continue showing these misleading results in search results and Google Maps, the results should, at the very least, be appropriately labeled,” the letter stated.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has actively called for crisis pregnancy centers to be shut down.
In response, Miyares and Cameron’s letter instructs Google to not bow to the pressure of these demands or they will face investigations. They wrote,
“As the chief legal officers of our respective States, we the undersigned Attorneys General are extremely troubled by this gallingly un-American political pressure. We wish to make this very clear to Google and the other market participants that it dwarfs: If you fail to resist this political pressure, we will act swiftly to protect American consumers from this dangerous axis of corporate and government power.”
The attorneys general called the attempt by members of Congress to shut down charitable organizations “unconscionable.”
The letter notes that the vitriol by legislators is more disturbing considering there have been a rash of attacks against crisis pregnancy centers since the leak of the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
The attorneys general wrote, “No American should be silenced because of his or her religious beliefs, especially in order to magnify the message of adherents of other beliefs on the same subject.”
Warning Google, they stated,
“Free markets are a fundamental tenet of American society. But monopolized markets are not free. And Google’s monopoly power in the markets for search services and online advertising has attracted the attention of federal regulators, the Department of Justice, and many of the States—including many of the States represented here. We cannot imagine a potential antitrust violation more odious to American ideals than the deployment of monopoly power to suppress the expression of a particular idea, done at the behest of government actors.”
If Google complies with the request to eliminate crisis pregnancy centers from results, the attorneys general say they will open investigations regarding potential violation of antitrust laws, unlawful discrimination, and whether additional protection for consumers is needed.
The letter asks for a response by August 4.
“Google has two options — protect the freedom of the marketplace of ideas or face legal consequences. American consumers expect diversity of opinion and thought,” Miyares said. “The idea that elected officials are both advocating for the removal of private charities and encouraging Google to outwardly discriminate against crisis pregnancy centers and silence voices different than their own is appalling.”
Google has far too much power over information to target organizations based on their beliefs. What is far more concerning is the letter from legislators soliciting such discrimination. For government authorities to tell a company to use its vast power to target, censor, and discriminate against small religious organizations is deeply disturbing. This type of rhetoric vilifying charities that provide benefits to mothers could be influencing the violence seen against pregnancy centers.
This is a clear violation of the First Amendment. The government pressuring companies to engage in silencing dissent is no better than the government doing the silencing.
Religious discrimination endorsed and encouraged by the state is tyranny. It must be opposed everywhere it rises in order to stem its growth.
The God-given role of government is to punish evil, not to punish good and promote evil. Romans 13:3-4 tells us that government is to praise good and punish evil. Paul calls it “a minister of God to you for good” as well as an “avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
Trying to shut down charitable organizations that care for women and children and promoting abortion are the exact opposite of what government is supposed to do. By contrast, the willingness of the attorneys general to stand up to censorship and oppression is an example of government functioning as it should.