Yelp to begin prominently labeling crisis pregnancy centers to avoid confusion

Now, if a person comes across a crisis pregnancy center when browsing Yelp’s business pages, they will see a notice that prominently identifies it as such and notes it may “provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals onsite,” according to a blog post from Noorie Malik, the company’s VP of user operations.

Yelp (YELP) is also working to re-categorize the results pages of crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based crisis pregnancy centers to clearly distinguish them from healthcare providers that offer abortion services. This effort, which has been ongoing since 2018, will divide these services into separate categories, based on information from the companies’ websites, social media and self-reported “About the Business” information provided to Yelp, as well as customer reviews.

“It’s well-reported that 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,” wrote Malik. “With this new consumer notice we’re aiming to further protect consumers from the potential of being misled or confused.”

Yelp reports that nearly 470 businesses have been re-categorized so far in 2022, with around 33,500 US pages evaluated. The company plans on going through over 55,000 pages in the coming months across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The announcement comes as Google, one of Yelp’s biggest rivals, has faced pressure from Democrats and Republicans for its handling of abortion-related search results. In mid-June, one week before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, more than 20 Congressional Democrats wrote a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The letter urged the company to prevent searches for abortion clinics from returning results and ads that direct users to facilities that actually oppose the procedure, noting it could put women’s health at risk. The next month, 17 Republican attorneys general wrote a letter to Pichai pushing for the opposite. They argued that any move to suppress pro-life search results at the behest of Democratic officials “would violate the most fundamental tenet of the American marketplace of ideas” and also “actively harm women seeking essential assistance.”

Google has yet to take action on the matter, though it has taken other steps. In July, the company said it would begin deleting user location history for visits to abortion clinics and fertility clinics, among other destinations. Google also said it would add an option for Fitbit users to bulk delete their menstruation data. (The Google-owned fitness tracker previously gave users the option to delete period-tracking data on a record-by-record basis.)