Apple’s Siri Does not Do Abortion Referrals?

Posted on | December 1, 2011 by Stefano Gennarini, J.D. |

NO. In fact, it may even refer you to a crisis pregnancy center instead!

Over the last couple of days this issue has gone viral on the news and on blogs. Siri is Apple’s intelligent personal assistant software for the Iphone 4. It recognizes the user’s voice and runs internet searches when you ask questions like “where is the nearest McDonald?” and “what is the weather going to be like tomorrow?”.

If you ask your Iphone to find an abortion clinic near you it is unable to answer. This is what people have been finding out over the last week. If you ask siri to find an abortion clinic in Manhattan it will tell you that there are none. If you are in Washington D.C. it will direct you to clinics 25 or 75 miles away. Wherever you are, siri will very likely turn up results for crisis pregnancy centers instead. Moreover, Siri is not able to help you find the morning after pill, no matter what you call it (plan B, emergency contraception).

Some blame the third party internet search providers that Apple has contracted. But others are unconvinced and perceive and invisible pro-life hand within Apple. Siri can be very helpful with other less conventional requests. It can tell you where to bury a body in case you commit murder, where to find escorts if you feel lonely, and many clever solutions to problems I would never ask my phone to resolve.

Whatever the case, it is unlikely that that the glitch will not be resolved. Pro-Abortion groups have petitioned Apple to correct the problem promptly, and Apple issued a statement explaining it as a glitch due to the novelty of the siri software. The NY Times Blog has more information.

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Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.

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