Pro-life Christian organizations may now advertise on Google for the first time after the search engine giant settled out-of-court with a religious organization in the UK.
Google had banned pro-life groups from purchasing ads against search terms like "abortion" and "abortion help," but they were forced to change their policy after they were accused of violating equalities legislation.
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In April, The Christian Institute, a non-denominational Christian charity, took legal action against Google when they did not approve an abortion-related ad. The group based their case on a UK law that prohibits religious discrimination.
The ad in question stated, "UK Abortion law Key views and news on abortion law from The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk."
At the time, Google said its policy did not permit the advertisement of Web sites that contain "abortion and religion-related content."
But Mike Judge with The Christian Institute argued that this was an issue of free speech.
"Google were taking adverts from pro-abortion groups, and our view is that was a free speech issue," Judge said. "What we want to do is set out the acts in a pretty factual and pretty sensible way."
Instead of fighting the case in the court, Google reviewed its abortion ads policy and agreed to revise its policy.
"The issue of abortion is an emotive subject and Google does not take a particular side," the company said in a statement. "Over the last few months we have been reviewing our abortion ads policy in order to make sure it was fair, up to date and consistent with local customs and practices. Following the review we have decided to amend our policy, creating a level playing field and enabling religious associations to place ads on abortion in a factual way."
Google's new policy now applies globally.
Source: CBN News, ABC News, TimesOnline UK