According to Apple, your wish is Siri’s command but if your wish is for information about an abortion, you may have to wait for another genie.
With your iPhone4S, Siri will point you to a great new sushi restaurant, a place to hide a body or even the meaning of life, but it cannot seem to find any information about abortion clinics, emergency contraception or birth control.
When asking Siri about an abortion, you may be directed to an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) if there is one in your area or, if you live in New York City or many other places around the country, you’ll get nothing. Siri won’t even pull up listings for Planned Parenthood. One Abortioneers reader commented that when asking about any of these products, Siri will give you a trite answer along the lines of “I can’t find any adult retail stores.”
Siri is supposed to know what you mean and be proactive but it seems that it’s doing women a huge disservice.
The technology used in Siri trolls the internet for responses to your questions, so why is it that wouldn’t find any of the online or brick-and-mortar contraception sellers? Is it because Apple isn’t concerned about their female users? Or is it something more related to underfunded abortion clinics’ inability to compete in the internet world?
Over at Feministe, it was pointed out that the problem at Apple probably isn’t that they’re “out to screw women over.” The place is just filled with male programmers that don’t think about optimizing the search engine results for abortion clinics or including jokes that are related to women in the quirks of the phone’s search capabilities, as opposed to dead bodies. They also pointed out “it’s pretty appalling that programmers thought far ahead enough to know where to send users who needed to remove rodents from their buttholes, but didn’t consider a medical procedure that 1 in 3 American women will have.”
And even though iPhone users are 18% more likely to be females (and almost just as likely to be politically liberal), they’re evidently also more likely to be unintentionally discriminated against. As they pointed out in Feministe, “the problem isn’t that anyone involved with this hates women. The problem is that they just don’t think about women very much.”
So how do we get programmers, and men in power everywhere, to acknowledge women’s issues as an equally important topic, from joking about male hookers to real life needs? Is that even possible?