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Sat Sep 30, 2023, 04:52 AM Sep 2023

Texas, Yelp Sue Each Other Over Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers [View all]

Texas, Yelp Sue Each Other Over Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers

It’s a big day in Texas for suing and getting sued: The state of Texas, represented by embattled state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), and Yelp, are mutually suing each other over a helpful feature on Yelp’s website that was added after Roe v. Wade was overturned, and informs users that anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers don’t provide abortion services.

Yelp first sued Texas in a district court in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, calling the action preemptive as Paxton allegedly warned the company last week that it planned to sue as soon as Friday. And, right on schedule, Paxton filed a suit against Yelp on Thursday in Bastrop County Court in Texas, claiming the company violates the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for “inaccurate and misleading language” with its labels. Yelp’s suit calls on the court to affirm that its labels are constitutionally protected speech.

For years, search engines like Google have helped amplify anti-abortion centers and, until fairly recently, allowed them to appear without a disclaimer. Yelp’s labels are a vitally important first step: “Often, people think of Yelp and think of restaurants, but​​ it’s a source that a lot of people go to when they’re looking at all sorts of different businesses and services,” Shireen Shakouri, deputy director of Reproaction, told Jezebel last year. Shakouri noted that for years, abortion rights advocates have taken it upon themselves to leave Yelp reviews on anti-abortion centers specifying that they’re “fake clinics,” and said Yelp’s labels “add an important layer of trust.”

Yelp didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Jezebel on its mutual lawsuit against Texas, but in a statement announcing the labels last year, the company said the “trust and safety of our community is a top priority,” as is “access to reliable information about reproductive health services.” Last April, Yelp also offered to help fund abortion-related costs and travel for employees impacted by bans—but, like other companies, only did so after historically donating to anti-abortion candidates.
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