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November 30, 2011

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation Weighs in on iPhone Application Issue

Washington, D. C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, sent a letter to the CEO of Apple, asking him to ensure that Siri, one of the company’s iPhone applications, provides individuals with accurate information about their reproductive-health options.

Media reports indicate that, in some instances, the voice-activated Siri did not provide customers with accurate or complete information about women’s reproductive-health services. In one example, Siri directed an individual seeking the location of abortion providers to organizations that oppose abortion rights.

The text of the letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook follows:

November 30, 2011

Tim Cook
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

Dear Mr. Cook:

On behalf of our one-million member activists across the country, I would like to register my concern about reports regarding one of your iPhone applications. In some cases, Siri is not providing your customers with accurate or complete information about women’s reproductive-health services.

Siri is a great tool that mixes humor and sarcasm in responding to questions—and it is another example of how your company is on the cutting edge of demonstrating how technology can transform the way we share and access information. Thus, it is disappointing to read that a tool like Siri is missing the mark when it comes to providing information about such personal health issues as abortion care and contraception.

News reports have documented that, in some instances, Siri responded to a question concerning where to find abortion providers by directing an individual to anti-choice organizations known as “crisis pregnancy centers”(CPCs). Anti-choice groups created CPCs to look like comprehensive health clinics, but many do not provide women with accurate pregnancy-related information. This issue is especially important to us at NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, as our state affiliates in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia have produced reports that document these deceptive practices. Many of these centers are not up front about their anti-abortion, anti-contraception agenda when advertising online or in other channels. For instance, many CPCs do not disclose their bias to women who walk through their doors or call their toll-free lines seeking information. Ultimately, many of these centers can be harmful and do nothing to help women locate the services they requested from Siri.

Although Siri is not the principal resource for women’s health care, I hope you agree that it is important that the women who are using this application not be misled about their pregnancy-related options.

We would be happy to meet with members of your team who oversee the Siri application to go over our concerns in person. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Nancy Keenan, President
NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation

Find out more information about so-called “crisis pregnancy centers.”

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