Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against Yelp after the company violated Texas’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act by appending inaccurate and misleading language to listings on pregnancy resource centers appearing in the search results on Yelp’s app and website.
After the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision concluded that there is no constitutional right to an abortion, Yelp’s CEO issued a lengthy public statement expressing a self-professed need to “take action.” He boasted that Yelp provides special assistance to “select organizations that are fighting the legal battle against abortion bans,” and he attempted to rally the business community behind the pro-abortion cause, stating, “We need more business leaders to use their platform and influence to help ensure that reproductive rights are codified into law.”
Yelp’s CEO is entitled to his views on abortion, but he was not entitled to use the Yelp platform to deceptively disparage facilities that counsel pregnant women instead of providing abortions. Yelp appended language to all pregnancy resource center Yelp pages, indicating that those pages “typically provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.” That disclaimer is misleading and often untrue because pregnancy resource centers frequently do provide medical services with licensed medical professionals onsite. Moreover, when informed by pregnancy resource centers that this statement was untrue, Yelp left up the misleading disclaimer on those centers’ Yelp pages until reproached by Attorney General Paxton earlier this year. Yelp’s disclaimer is particularly deceptive because it is in fact abortion providers that often do not have licensed medical professionals onsite, but the company did not append this disclaimer to abortion providers’ Yelp pages.
“Yelp cannot mislead and deceive the public simply because the company disagrees with our state’s abortion laws,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Major companies cannot abuse their platforms and influence to control consumers’ behavior, especially on sensitive health issues like pregnancy and abortion.”
To read the filing, click here.