Seemingly Pro Life Siri Riles Up Abortion Rights Activists

Paul Lilly

Certain topics always seem to stir up heated arguments in a hurry. Some of these include politics, religion, capital punishment, gay rights, abortion, and in some circles, Apple. Mix any of two those together and you end up with a recipe for a combustible conversation, which is what happened when Apple's Siri voice recognition software redirected users seeking an abortion clinic to an "anti-choice" organization.

Nancy Keenan, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America Foundation, sent a letter to Apple's Tim Cook accusing Siri with "not providing your customers with accurate or complete information about women's reproductive-health service." Keenan called Siri a "great tool that mixes humor and sarcasm in responding to questions," but she wasn't amused to read reports that "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)."

The politely-toned letter drew a response from Mr. Cook, who blamed the situation on Siri being a beta product.

"Our customers use Siri to find out all types of information and while it can find a lot, it doesn't always find what you want," Cook responded . "These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks. I appreciate you pointing this out."

It appears Apple has already tweaked Siri to respond in a manner that would be less offensive to NARAL and abortion rights activists. When we tried looking up abortion clinics, Siri would simply tell us it couldn't find one if there weren't any nearby, and didn't attempt to direct us any place else.

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