Dustin Siggins contributed to this story.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, April 29, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although the abortion activist organization NARAL Pro-Choice America claims a massive success in having Google remove “deceptive” ads for crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life organizations that advertise on Google tell LifeSiteNews they have been unaffected by the alleged change. Some have intimated NARAL's move may be little more than hype designed to drum up support for the pro-abortion organization.
“I'm not aware of anyone claiming their ads have been removed,” Brian Fisher, co-founder and president of Online for Life, told LifeSiteNews. OFL targets Internet advertising at men and women who are considering abortion – and they say this week's actions by NARAL have had no effect on their ad campaigns. “Online for Life has a long and positive relationship with Google, and we expect it to continue.”
NARAL reported that two-thirds of the ads it reported as misleading – allegedly showing pro-life care centers posing as abortion providers – had been taken down by Google.
However, the group did not disclose the total number of ads it reported. Google affirmed it has not changed any policies; it merely acted on complaints, which any reader can file.
“Google's advertising policy has always prohibited 'misleading, inaccurate and deceitful ads,'” Deb Myles of the Columbus-based Heartbeat International said in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews and other news outlets. “So does the Commitment of Care and Competence (CCC), the ethical guidelines promulgated by Heartbeat International and every other national pregnancy center organization. Our CCC states: 'All of our advertising and communication are truthful and honest and accurately describe the services we offer.'”
“Heartbeat International is well-versed in using Google AdWords effectively with honesty and integrity, and we are thankful for every life saved because of our Option Line's reach through Google,” she said.
“We have not had any negative effects,” James Harden, the president and CEO of CompassCare Pregnancy Services in New York, also told LifeSiteNews.
Yet the mainstream media and some elements of the pro-life media unquestioningly reported the change as a major coup for the abortion advocacy group.
It would not be the first time NARAL has made negative attacks against crisis pregnancy centers that critics called exaggerated. Last summer, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia received saturation media coverage of its “undercover” videotape of “lies that a woman hears when she goes to a CPC” (crisis pregnancy center). Critics responded that the list of “lies” contained zero falsehoods.
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In October 2012, the group boasted of catching a low-quality photo of a Live Action undercover reporter on a local restaurant's security camera. Although the group claimed to have uncovered a sting operation related to left-wing campaign finance, Live Action instead released videos showing late-term abortionists refusing to care for babies who are born alive, a series it called “Inhuman.”
Harden suspects little has changed in the online world due to NARAL's latest report. “Google has always had an ad review process, and our ads have always been closely scrutinized and sometimes rejected before or even after publication if Google’s ad policy changed. However, I cannot say it was deliberate targeting,” he said. “I chalk it up to being thorough.”
Instead of concentrating solely on ad placement, he encouraged crisis pregnancy centers to improve their organic rankings in the search engines by enhancing their websites with unique, valuable content.
“If Google is engaging in ideological censorship – and I’m not convinced they are – then we should take this opportunity to make a habit of developing relevant, content rich material using social media, blogs, websites, positive customer reviews, and videos to drive our natural search engine ranking above the unethical abortionists,” Harden told LifeSiteNews.
“And why not? Truth and medical ethics are on our side.”