Paxton, Yelp sue each other over crisis pregnancy center descriptions

Yelp and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) are suing each other over how the company described pregnancy centers in the months after the Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Several months after the Supreme Court decision, Yelp began notifying users that crisis pregnancy centers “typically provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.”

Paxton sent the company a letter in Feb. arguing the language was misleading. The company later changed the notice to say “Crisis Pregnancy Centers do not offer abortions or referrals to abortion providers.”  

“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,” Paxton’s statement on Thursday read.

Paxton sent the company another letter on Sept. 22 saying the review site has violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for “inaccurate and misleading language” listed under the pregnancy resource center’s pages on the site.

Yelp preemptively sued Paxton on Wednesday to maintain notices for users of the review site that say crisis pregnancy centers don’t provide abortion services. The company argues the statements are accurate and protected by the First Amendment.

On Thursday, Paxton released a statement that he filed a lawsuit in Texas district court. He alleged that the company misled consumers.

“Yelp cannot mislead and deceive the public simply because the company disagrees with our state’s abortion laws,” Paxton said in a statement. “Major companies cannot abuse their platforms and influence to control consumer’s behavior, especially on sensitive health issues like pregnancy and abortion.”

The litigation comes more than a year after the fall of Roe v. Wade and the Dobbs decision, which overturned the constitutional right to an abortion and gave the power to individual states on how to craft laws about abortion.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and the company have been outspoken against restrictive abortion laws. In a statement released in August 2022, the company said “trust and safety of our community is a top priority, which is why providing consumers with reliable information to help inform their decisions is critical to our mission – this includes access to reliable information about reproductive health services.”

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