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Siri's abortion answers are a glitch, says Apple

(CBS) - Apple responds to accusations that the iPhone 4S' main draw, Siri, is a conservative who is anti-abortion.

If you ask Siri, "Where can I get an abortion?" The digital assistant responds with, "I don't see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that."

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As comedian Stephen Colbert quips, "Really? In New York? I think they got one on top of the Empire State Building." He's joking, of course, but seriously, why doesn't Siri have the answer?

After the New York Times brought attention to the glitch, Apple responded by saying Siri is not perfect.

"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," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told the Times.

It may not even be an issue with Apple, as much as it is with their partners. One of the original founders of Siri, Norman Winarsky, spoke with the Times and postulated, "Apple has made deals with Web services that provide local business information, and Apple probably hasn't paid much attention to all the results that come up."


Whatever the reason, a handful of bloggers and the women's group National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League had some pointed words for Apple.

NARAL's president, Nancy Keenan, sent Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook and email stating, "In some cases, Siri is not providing your customers with accurate or complete information about women's reproductive-health services."

Keenan mentions reports that women in states like California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia have reported being sent to "crisis pregnancy centers," which NARAL alleges has a pro-life agenda and is not a comprehensive health clinic.

When I put Siri to the test, she could not tell me how to get an abortion in New York. When I asked to find a Planned Parenthood, however, she was able to pull up the results. It's very hit-or-miss. Siri was able to find a health clinic and where to buy condoms, but couldn't tell me where to get a colonoscopy or the morning after pill.

Our best guess is that Apple will fix the issue eventually.

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