Is Siri anti-choice?

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Rights groups have criticized Apple for omitting to give the Siri voice assistant information on abortion and birth control.

In many states, when asked for information about abortion, Siri guides users to Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which try to persuade women to go through with unwanted pregnancies.

The case has been taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union, which put Siri to the test itself in its Washington DC office.

"When a staffer told Siri she needed an abortion, the iPhone assistant referred her to First Choice Women’s Abortion Info and Pregnancy Center and Human Life Pregnancy-Abortion Information Center," it says.

"Both are pregnancy crisis centers that do not provide abortion services, and the second center is located miles and miles away in Pennsylvania."

The omission isn't caused by Apple's famously puritanical attitude to sex. Siri, it seems, has no qualms about referring users to local escort services.

"Although it isn’t clear that Apple is intentionally trying to promote an anti-choice agenda, it is distressing that Siri can point you to Viagra, but not the Pill, or help you find an escort, but not an abortion clinic," says the ACLU.

Already, two petitions have been started at Change.org, aiming to get Apple to include family planning information.

"If Siri can provide information about how to dispose of a dead body, where to purchase illegal drugs, or where to get an escort, she should certainly provide accurate family planning location information to her users," says campaign group Abortioneers.com.

Apple's denied to the New York Times that the omission is deliberate, pointing out that Siri is still technically in beta. It'll continue to incorporate new information into the service, it says.