Bows to Pro-Abortion Pressure on Book Search Results

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC Bows to Pro-Abortion Pressure on Book Search Results Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 20, 2006

Seattle, WA ( — has modified its book search results after receiving complaints from abortion advocates who thought they were tilted in favor of the pro-life view. A pro-abortion religious group objected to Amazon asking customers if they wanted books on adoption when putting in the term "abortion" as a search phrase.

Amazon made the change a few days ago. Before that, a question asking customers, "Did you mean adoption?" appeared at the top of search results for books on abortion.

That upset Reverend James Lewis, a retired Episcopalian minister in West Virginia and a member of the board of the pro-abortion Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

"I thought it was offensive," he told the New York Times. "It represented an editorial position on their part."

Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith told the Times the Internet-based company was not trying to bias its search results and that it suggests books on all sorts of topics related to search phrases customers use.

Smith added that the question was also based on customer behavior in that many people looking for books on abortion also are interested in books covering adoption.

She confirmed to the Times that the option to find adoption books has been disabled.

Now, when a customer search on books on abortion, related search words including "pro-life," "adoption" and "if these walls could talk" appear. The latter term refers to a pro-abortion book turned into a movie staring pop singer Cher.

The first three choices for customers include "The Ethics of Abortion : Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice (Contemporary Issues)," "Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood" and "The Healing Choice : Your Guide to Emotional Recovery After an Abortion."

Most of the other books in the top ten are scholarly looks at abortion, but three of them have a pro-life perspective. They include a post-abortion book from Theresa Burke, John Joseph Powell seminal pro-life publication and Francis J. Beckwith’s well-written work on rebutting pro-abortion arguments.

The change in removing the adoption question hasn’t satisfied abortion advocates.

Reverend Jeff Briere of the Unitarian Universalist Church and also on the board of the pro-abortion religious group, also complained.

"The search engine results I am presented with, their suggestions, seem to be pro-life in orientation," Briere told the Times.

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