Google workers demand abortion benefits for contractors, suspend donations to anti-abortion politicians

Google Workers Demand Abortion Benefits for Contractors, Suspension of Donations to Anti-Abortion Politicians

Google owners are demanding that more than 650 workers at Alphabet provide abortion benefits to contractors, suspend donations to anti-abortion politicians and better protect users from abortion-related misinformation and police requests. The demands were sent this week in a petition to executives seen by Reuters. They reflect concerns across the country since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June led to or expanded new restrictions on abortion and fertility care in half of the 50 states.

Google declined to comment on the petition organized by the Alphabet workers’ union group.

Many companies, including Google, have established policies to support employees who have had an abortion. Alphabet workers said temporary workers and contractors should also get those benefits, such as reimbursement for travel to states where processing remains legal.

Thousands of workers live in states that ban abortion, estimated Alejandra Beatty, technical program manager at Alphabet healthcare subsidiary Verily and co-leader of the petition.

Alphabet, which employs more than 174,000 people globally, has said that while it sets some standards, it cannot completely dictate outside vendors’ policies.

In addition, the petition states that Alphabet should not make political contributions to groups and candidates campaigning to restrict abortion access. It has stopped giving at least once before. In 2021, after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Google said it would stop donating to Republicans who voted against certifying US President Joe Biden as the winner of the election.

The petitioners write that user searches about abortion on Google “should never be saved, turned over to law enforcement, or considered a crime.”

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

The workers also echoed demands from abortion advocates who have said for years that Google remove search results for crisis pregnancy centers, which try to discourage people from having abortions. Google has said that it removes incorrect results that are reported.

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

“We’re looking for a comprehensive response,” she said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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