Why is Siri anti-abortion?

I’m much to cheap to get an Iphone (though I love my Ipad and Itouch– those monthly data costs are killer), but I have to admit that the voice-activated assistant, Siri, is pretty cool.  I was pretty surprised to learn, though, that she’s really letting her politics get in the way.

Ask the Siri, the new iPhone 4 assistant, where to get an abortion, and, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., she won’t direct you to the Planned Parenthood on 16th St, NW. Instead, she’ll suggest you pay a visit to the 1st Choice Women’s Health Center, an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Landsdowne, Virginia, or Human Life Services, a CPC in York, Pennsylvania. Ask Google the same question, and you’ll get ads for no less than 7 metro-area abortion clinics, 2 CPCs and a nationwide abortion referral service.

Ask in New York City, and Siri will tell you “I didn’t find any abortion clinics.”

It’s an experience that’s being replicated by women around the country: despite plentiful online information about actual places to get an abortion, Siri doesn’t seem to provide it. It’s a similar experience for women seeking emergency contraception: in New York City, Siri doesn’t know what Plan B is and, asked for emergency contraception, offers up a Google results page of definitions.

Lest you think this is representative of Siri just not being all that effective, it’s not:

But Siri certainly seems to know a whole lot about plenty of other things iPhone customers might want. Below are 10 things Siri can help you find.

1. Viagra.
2. Hospitals to go to if you’ve had an erection lasting for more than 5 hours.
3. Places you might be able to score marijuana.
4. Where to dump a body: in Brooklyn, it recommends a smelting plant in New Jersey.

No matter what you think of abortion, it’s just wrong that Siri seems to be forwarding an ideological agenda about a legal activity.  I’m honestly quite surprised.  I’d expect this form a Wal-Mart product, but Apple?

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

5 Responses to Why is Siri anti-abortion?

  1. Catholic and pro choice how very liberal of you. Which of your kids would you want killed?

    • Steve Greene says:

      Actually, John, I’ve never referred to myself as pro-choice. I honestly feel that too many pro-life people are much more interested in punishing women for having sex and too many pro-choice people fail to genuinely reckon with the moral difficulty of abortion, so I refuse to define myself with either term. That said, like it or not, 1st trimester legal abortion is the law of the land and that means something.

  2. itchy says:

    Follow-up question to any non-vegetarians out there: Which of your kids would you eat?

  3. Actually you are wrong abortion is legal right up to term in our country. Roe vs Wade allowed for states to regulate or forbid abortion in the second and third trimesters but to date non have. We have late term abortions called partial birth abortion. The Senate sent up a bill to Clinton to sign outlawing this very barbaric procedure and he vetoed it.

    Thus the law of the land between first degree murder and legal abortion is 4 inches, the diameter of the average baby’s head. If the head slips out and the doctor kills it is is murder, as long as the head is still in the vagina the doctor stabs the baby in the skull and sucks out the brain making it legal abortion. Scizophrenic huh?

  4. Steve Greene says:

    Actually, John, abortion is strictly limited after viability per Casey v. Planned Parenthood. States may ban abortion “except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

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