NARAL's Fake Story: There Were No 'Deceptive' Pregnancy Center Ads on Google

As Ken Shepherd noted on NewsBusters, on April 28 NARAL made a media splash by claiming it had gotten Google to remove a large number of “deceptive ads from anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.”

And those “deceptions,” if true, were major whoppers. From The Washington Post:

According to an analysis by NARAL, 79 percent of the crisis pregnancy centers that advertised on Google indicated that they provided medical services such as abortions, when, in fact, they are focused on counseling services and on providing information about alternatives to abortion….

Google said in a statement that it had applied its ad policy standards in this case and followed normal company procedures.

That’s a lot of pregnancy care centers supposedly posing as abortion clinics. The sheer magnitude should have raised a red flag with any objective journalist who bore in mind s/he had been fed those statistics by the opposition. I am aware of no PCC that would do such a thing.

NARAL claimed:

We discovered that if you Googled “abortion clinic,” ads funded by anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) appeared 79 percent of the time. CPCs don’t provide or refer for abortion care, and they shouldn’t trick women into thinking that they do.

NARAL further claimed:

[M]ore than two-thirds of the ads we identified have been removed or taken down. The ads in question violate several of the company’s advertising practices by misrepresenting the services the centers provide….

Pro-lifers were immediately alarmed by NARAL’s witch hunt and Google’s apparent capitulation. But now that the dust has settled, it is clear NARAL fabricated this story.


All major national pregnancy care center organizations have confirmed to me or fellow pro-life journalists that not one of their prc ads has been pulled from Google. These groups cover the gamut and include CareNet, CompassCare, Heartbeat International, Heroic Media, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Online for Life, and Vitae Foundation.

NARAL cited an ad by pregnanthelp.com as an example of the “deception”:

PregnantHelp.com is a CareNet affiliate. Today, Melinda Gipson, CareNet’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, responded via email:

What NARAL objected to was the fact that this ad appeared when someone searched, “Abortion clinic Naperville, IL.” Yet the center never bought the search term “abortion clinic.” Instead, it is more likely that Google’s AdWords’ real-time bidding engine saw the word “abortion” and “Naperville” in its queue, weighed this against the text in the ad and the price the center was bidding for exposure, then deemed the ad appropriate.

If anything, Google was itself probably responsible for the juxtaposition of this search string and the Naperville ad, and the fact that the ad was not in fact removed, nor was Naperville identified of a violation, shows that Google agrees.

So it may be Google itself that is responsible for the ad words glitch, which would explain its ambiguous response to queries on this matter.

Gipson explained more about how Google places ads in a follow-up email, which I found quite helpful. Gipson is a Google ad word expert, having had 20 years of experience in online media and marketing before joining CareNet.

Indeed, when I googled “abortion clinic Naperville il” today, PregnantHelp.com’s ad appeared first… and fifth, with another pro-life organization (freeabortionhelp.com)  sandwiched in between:

When I googled “abortion clinic,” a pro-life ad came up second. For “abortion clinics,” two pro-life ads were among those listed on the right side.

SearchEngineLand.com
concurred with my findings:

Do Google’s actions mark a policy change on abortion related advertising? Is this an indication the company is taking a political stance on the issue? Are all ads from pregnancy centers banned on Google? Did NARAL tread new ground in “lobbying” Google to remove ads it found misleading?

The answer to all of these questions is, No….

A clinic that does not offer abortion services can still buy and advertise on “crisis pregnancy center” and “abortion clinic” related keywords. The advertisers can promote the abortion alternative services, adoption or pre-natal care they offer, for example.

Bottom line, NARAL fabricated the Google story, and the mainstream media willingly or ignorantly fell for it.

NARAL got what it wanted in the short term – free media to tarnish the brand of pregnancy care centers, plus an accomplishment to show its donors other than its president, Ilyse Hogue, going on The Daily Show to discuss penis pumps.

But NARAL also revealed the desperation of an industry that is bleeding its only source of income, abortion, to the pro-life movement, and the industry obviously and rightfully deems pregnancy care centers to be major culprits.

But NARAL better be careful what it wishes for. A Google search today of “crisis pregnancy center” turned up an ad for none other than Planned Parenthood…


 

When I googled “abortion clinic,” a pro-life ad came up second. For “abortion clinics,” two pro-life ads were among those listed on the right side.

SearchEngineLand.com concurred with my findings:

Do Google’s actions mark a policy change on abortion related advertising? Is this an indication the company is taking a political stance on the issue? Are all ads from pregnancy centers banned on Google? Did NARAL tread new ground in “lobbying” Google to remove ads it found misleading?

The answer to all of these questions is, No….

A clinic that does not offer abortion services can still buy and advertise on “crisis pregnancy center” and “abortion clinic” related keywords. The advertisers can promote the abortion alternative services, adoption or pre-natal care they offer, for example.

Bottom line, NARAL fabricated the Google story, and the mainstream media willingly or ignorantly fell for it.

NARAL got what it wanted in the short term – free media to tarnish the brand of pregnancy care centers, plus an accomplishment to show its donors other than its president, Ilyse Hogue, going on The Daily Show to discuss penis pumps.

But NARAL also revealed the desperation of an industry that is bleeding its only source of income, abortion, to the pro-life movement, and the industry obviously and rightfully deems pregnancy care centers to be major culprits.

But NARAL better be careful what it wishes for. A Google search today of “crisis pregnancy center” turned up an ad for none other than Planned Parenthood

- See more at: http://www.jillstanek.com/2014/05/naral-lied-there-were-no-deceptive-pregnancy-center-ads-on-google/#sthash.k0RpELw0.dpuf