Attorney General Paxton has sent a Kentucky-led letter to the CEO of Yelp condemning the company’s efforts to discriminate against crisis pregnancy centers. Attorney General Paxton also previously sent a letter to the CEO of Alphabet, Inc. urging the company not to discriminate against crisis pregnancy centers in Google search results and online advertising.
Last year, Yelp announced that it would not only issue “Consumer Notices” on the business pages of crisis pregnancy centers, but it would also recategorize the pages in a way that could potentially mislead and limit women and families seeking to find the centers and obtain their services.
The “Consumer Notices” are thinly-veiled attempts to discriminate against the centers with information that may be false. For example, a “Consumer Notice” on a center’s business page could declare that certain centers provide “limited medical services” and “may not have licensed medical professionals” even though the center being described provides important free screening and testing services, and in fact has several licensed professionals on staff. Yelp’s notices threaten to steer away hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women and families who could benefit from using the services provided by pregnancy centers across the country.
By comparison, abortion facilities like those operated by Planned Parenthood do not receive such unfavorable treatment. As the letter highlights: “Consequently, to the extent that any business should be flagged for ‘provid[ing] limited medical services’ or for not ‘hav[ing] licensed medical professionals onsite,’ it should be Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities. The fact that Yelp has apparently applied the Consumer Notice only to crisis pregnancy centers means that Yelp has singled out crisis pregnancy centers for disparate treatment. This sort of discrimination is unacceptable.”
UPDATE: According to press reports, since receiving the letter, Yelp has agreed to remove its misleading labeling of crisis pregnancy centers and replace it with an accurate description: “This is a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Crisis Pregnancy Centers do not offer abortions or referrals to abortion providers.”
To read the full letter, click here.