India Orders Google, Yahoo, Microsoft to Block Sex-Selection Abortion Ads

With an order from the Indian Supreme Court threatening to shut down Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! unless they stop carrying ads for prenatal gender testing that have led to millions of abortions of female unborn babies and a chronic imbalance of genders, the three IT giants grudgingly agreed to block 22 related key words.

The agreement to comply led Steven Mosher of the Virginia-based Population Research Institute to say, “Now that these Internet giants ban ads for one kind of abortion, we should encourage them to ban ads for all forms of abortion.” He added, “Abortion is the greatest poverty, as St. Teresa of Calcutta so often reminded us.”

Google told Indian media: “Keeping in mind the sensitivities attached to this issue and to ensure that technology is used in right earnest to curb this retrograde practice, we have decided to disable certain terms from appearing as autocomplete predictions as well as display a warning message on relevant searches to inform users of the unlawful nature of this subject.”

Earlier, the companies reportedly argued before the court that banning the words would impede research and also prevent people from searching for news stories on the subject, but the Supreme Court found the companies in clear violation of the 1994 law banning prenatal gender testing.

Though sex-selective abortions were banned a decade earlier, both laws are so widely flouted that UNICEF has reported that according to data up to 2005 there were 7,000 female babies aborted daily in India. To describe the mounting practice of sex-selection abortion – made possible by the increasing availability of ultrasound in India and China – the term “gendercide” was invented.

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