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Tipsheet

Google to Clear Search History of Users Visiting Abortion Clinics

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

Google is amping up ways to protect people's location by quickly deleting history for those searching for abortion sites following the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade

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Google's senior vice president of core systems and experiences, Jen Fitzpatrick, announced that if its systems identify that someone has visited an abortion website, Google will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit. 

In a blog post, Google detailed new policies that will aim to protect users' privacy when they visit "sensitive" health-related locations, including abortion clinics and domestic violence shelters. 

"We're committed to delivering robust privacy protections for people who use our products, and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen and improve these protections," Fitzpatrick said. 

In addition to automatically deleting these sites from users' search history, the tech giant will also eliminate searches to counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, and cosmetic surgery clinics, as well as other websites. 

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Google defended its actions by claiming that a multitude of states could use users' search history, records about people's location, texts, searches and emails in prosecutions against abortion procedures. 

Even before the Supreme Court's official ruling, the search engine ensured that data from online users seeking abortions would be protected if Roe v. Wade was overturned. 

Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers urged Google to stop collecting location data that could be used to identify people seeking abortions. 

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