Google Employees Petition Bosses For Abortion Policy Changes

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug 18 (Reuters) – More than 650 workers at Alphabet Inc, owner of Google (GOOGL.O) are demanding that it offer abortion benefits to entrepreneurs, halt donations to anti-abortion politicians and better protect users against misinformation related to abortion and requests from the police.

The demands were sent this week in a petition to leaders seen by Reuters. They reflect concerns across the United States since a Supreme Court ruling in June prompted or raised the possibility of new restrictions on abortion and reproductive care in more than half of the 50 states. read more

Google declined to comment on the petition, organized by the Alphabet Workers Union group.

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Many companies, including Google, have established policies to help employees seeking abortions. Alphabet workers said temporary staff and contractors should also receive these benefits, such as reimbursement for travel to states where the procedure remains legal.

Thousands of workers live in states that restrict abortions, said Alejandra Beatty, technical program manager at Alphabet’s healthcare affiliate Verily and co-leader of the petition.

Alphabet, which employs more than 174,000 people worldwide, said that while it sets certain standards, it cannot fully dictate the policies of outside vendors.

Additionally, the petition states that Alphabet should not direct political contributions to groups and candidates campaigning to restrict access to abortion. He has already paused to give at least once. In 2021, after the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, Google said it would suspend donations to Republicans who voted against certifying that Joe Biden had won the election.

The petitioners write that users’ searches for abortion on Google “should never be saved, turned over to law enforcement, or treated as a crime.” read more

Google said it will continue to fight police requests for user information that it considers excessive.

The workers also echoed demands from abortion advocates who for years have said Google should remove search results for crisis pregnancy centers, which try to dissuade people from having abortions. Google said it removes reported misleading results. read more

Beatty said Alphabet should view protecting reproductive rights as an existential battle, as it did with covid-19, and convene a task force to oversee product changes.

“We are looking for a global response,” she said.

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Reporting by Paresh Dave; Edited by Lisa Shumaker

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Paresh Dave

Thomson Reuters

A San Francisco Bay Area-based tech journalist covering Google and the rest of Alphabet Inc. joined Reuters in 2017 after four years at the Los Angeles Times focusing on the local tech industry.

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