A pro-life iPhone? Apple’s Siri doesn’t give names of abortion clinics


Ask Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant for the iPhone, for ideas on where to eat dinner or whether you need an umbrella, and it will deliver helpful localized suggestions.

But try asking it to find a local abortion clinic, and the software turns up a puzzling blank — even in areas that clearly have such clinics. The response in Manhattan is: “Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.”

This is, of course, not a question that most people are likely to be asking their phones. But the odd results began to attract attention around the Web on Tuesday, with some suspecting a conspiracy.

“I can’t help but feel that something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” said one blogger at a site called The Abortioneers.

Megan Carpentier, the executive editor at a blog called The Raw Story, noted that Siri users in the Washington area are directed toward antiabortion pregnancy centers in Virginia and Pennsylvania — not the nearby Planned Parenthood. Asking Google the same question turned up ads for seven abortion clinics, two pregnancy centers and an abortion referral service.

Apple did not immediately respond to a question about the results.

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13 responses to “A pro-life iPhone? Apple’s Siri doesn’t give names of abortion clinics”

  1. It’s no secret that Jobs saw the mainstreaming of porn as a horrendous byproduct of the internet, not enabling his computers to operate Flash like PCs could. I wouldn’t be surprised if this restriction is in some way related to that. It is kind of sick to complain that your cellphone’s virtual assistant won’t help you find the nearest abortion clinic.

    People who have a problem with this should go buy a product other than Apple.

  2. For many years abortion providers have been putting a lot of effort sanitizing their image by trying to portray themselves as providers other “women’s health services” such as Planned Parenthood’s insistence that they provide screenings for breast cancer. It should come as no surprise that automated systems such as this one fail to figure out what they really do.

  3. If asked to find a Planned Parenthood Clinic, I think that is equivilent to asking for the nearest doctor’s office and should be information that is accessable.

  4. Yesterday one of my coworkers said to his iPad, “I want to kidnap a kid,” and Siri responded with a list of the nearest daycare centers. I agree with Deacon Jose — it’s probably that the abortion providers have so sanitized their descriptions in public records that the automated systems can’t tell what they do.

  5. Since switching our office malware, I’ve experienced problems opening various Catholic sites– had to visit our I.T. department to complain on numerous occasions. I have come to believe there is a decidedly anti-Catholic bias in the software.

    Another personal rant: Bing, which is now institutionalized here, does a lousy job of searching the types of sites I want, as compared to Google. I have to do a two-step search, first going to faithful Google, then making my request.

  6. They have a blogging site called “The Abortioneers?” How vulgar and repulsive. I wonder how long it will take for Apple to cave in to the pressure.

  7. Assuming for the sake of argument that this is something deliberate on Apple’s part (which I don’t necessarily believe), it’s worth remembering that Steve Jobs was the child of an unwed mother who put him up for adoption.

  8. Nonsense. Apple obviously has subscribed to, or created, a “local search” application organized by categories and keywords, probably similar to the Yellow Pages, with similarly bought and paid results. Nobody bought the “abortion” keyword except for pregnancy crisis clinics. Planned Parenthood was cheap and evasive, and now is whining about the consequences.

    It’s not malice or goodness. It’s just business

  9. Jobs stated that he was happy he was not aborted, as his mother was single when he was born. His bio parents later wed, then divorced. And, he later met and had a relationship with his bio mom.

  10. I think the name “Siri” prevents by divine intervention the accessing of abortion mills. A great cardinal, almost pope.

  11. . . . or maybe Siri is just obeying the first of the 3 laws of robotics (a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm). Of course that would require Siri to recognize the unborn as human.

  12. I just went and checked out that blog. Wow. Just wow. I will pray for those people.

    Surreal-because I am taking a little break from cleaning out my attic and was planning on loading up our car tomorrow with no longer needed baby items to drop off at a nearby home for single mothers in need-one that my dear parents helped start-after they were among a local network of families who took young mothers in their homes-nearly 30 years ago. The daughter of the the first mother (15 at the time) who stayed with us turned 29 this summer. Another of the babies just got married this summer at the age of 27. If everyone could reach out to just one young mother in need and offer them a real choice, what a world this would be.

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