Google employees call for better abortion and privacy protections


Google’s parent company Alphabet employs over 174,000 people globally (Picture: Reuters)

Over 650 Google employees are demanding more from the tech giant with regard to abortion.

According to a petition sent this week to executives, Google staff want the company to offer abortion benefits to contractors, suspend donations to anti-abortion politicians and better protect users from abortion-related disinformation and police requests.

The petition seen by Reuters reflects concerns across the United States since a Supreme Court ruling in June ended 50 years of abortion rights in the country.

Google declined to comment on the petition, which was organised by the Alphabet Workers Union group.

Many companies including Google have established policies to assist employees seeking abortions. Google workers want these policies to include temporary staff and contractors to access reimbursement for travel to states where the procedure remains legal.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 6: Pro-abortion rights protesters demonstrate outside of a Catholic church in downtown Manhattan on August 6, 2022 in New York City. The protests occurred at the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral are where a small number of anti-abortion activists worship. Five pro-abortion rights protesters were arrested today by the New York Police Department. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Over 650 Google employees are demanding more from the tech giant with regard to abortion (Picture: Getty Images)

Thousands of workers live in states that restrict abortions, estimated Alejandra Beatty, technical program manager at Google’s healthcare subsidiary Verily and co-lead of the petition.

Google’s parent company Alphabet employs over 174,000 people globally and has said that though it sets some standards, it cannot fully dictate policies of outside vendors.

In addition, the petition says Alphabet should not direct political contributions toward groups and candidates campaigning to restrict abortion access.

The petition also addresses concerns that user searches concerning abortion on Google ‘must never be saved, handed over to law enforcement, or treated as a crime’.

In July, Google said it would delete location data showing when users visit an abortion clinic following privacy concerns. It also said that it would continue to push back against improper or overly broad demands for data by the government, without reference to abortion.

The workers also echoed previous demands from US lawmakers who have asked Google to remove search results for crisis pregnancy centres, which attempt to dissuade people from abortion. Google has said it removes misleading results that are reported. 

Beatty said Alphabet should consider protecting reproductive rights an existential battle, like it did Covid-19, and convene a task force to oversee product changes.


MORE : Google will delete location history data for abortion clinic visits


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