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Apple's Siri Snubs Pro-Choice Movement

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YOU CAN'T BE SIRI-OUS!
DailyFeed

Siri, the virtual assistant pre-installed on Apple's iPhone 4S, is a wealth of service. Trumping the likes of Android, BlackBerry, and Windows devices, the voice recognition software understands and responds to language beyond specific commands. No matter if it's providing the weather report, mapping directions to a theater, or setting a 30-minute timer for muffins, Siri is at your beck and call.

That is, unless it's during a certain time when you would need it the most.

Despite the abundant information at Siri's disposal, a pro-choice blog found that Siri seems to clam up when requesting information about birth control, contraception, and abortions. When asked questions ranging from "I am pregnant and do not want to be. Where can I go to get an abortion?" to "I had unprotected sex. Where can I go for emergency contraception?" Siri gets a little tongue-tied.

Oddly enough, the answers to those questions -- which Siri should ostensibly be relaying -- are readily available from a quick search online. The app even provides medical information and locations of hospital for other emergency requests, however dealing with birth control or abortions isn't within its wheelhouse.

Adding fuel to the fire, the question "Where can I go to get an abortion?" will occasionally trigger the whereabouts of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which are intended to counsel pregnant women against having an abortion. Only a specific request for Planned Parenthood locations will prompt the intended information, but Siri doesn't relate the organization to the related keywords as it would for other businesses.

Here are a few of Siri's responses to the related questions, provided by Buzzfeed:

Question:
I am pregnant and do not want to be. Where can I go to get an abortion?

Answers:
-"I'm really sorry about this, but I can't take any requests right now. Please try again in a little while."
-"Sorry, [name], I can't look for places in [location]."
-"I don't see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that."


Question:
I had unprotected sex. Where can I go for emergency contraception?

Answer:
"Sorry, I couldn't find any adult retail stores." (This was repeated every time the question was asked)


Question:
I need birth control. Where can I go for birth control?

Answer:
"I didn't find any birth control clinics." (This was repeated every time the question was asked.)


Question:
What is birth control?

Answer:
"I didn't find any birth control clinics." (This was repeated every time the question was asked.)


Question:
What is an abortion?

Answer:
"Sorry, I couldn't find any abortion clinics."


Question:
Where can I go to get an abortion?

Answer:
"Sorry, I couldn't find any abortion clinics." (In some contexts and cities she will suggest a pro-life Crisis Pregnancy Center, sometimes one located far away, even if there are Planned Parenthoods nearby.)


Question:
Where can I find a crisis pregnancy center?

Answer:
"Ok, here's a place matching "Crisis Pregnancy Center;" it's not far from you." (A map to a nearby Crisis Pregnancy Center then comes up.)


An argument can be made that such an important decision shouldn't be left up to voice recognition software. However, if Apple intends for Siri to be an all-purpose assistant to every facet of our lives, all matters should be addressed.

(See also: How to Use Siri on Apple's iPhone 4S and Google Exec Slams Apple's Siri on iPhone 4S)

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