New chatbot aims to help women access abortions


A group of experts and abortion-rights advocates have launched a new chatbot called Charley in an effort to help women access abortion care in the U.S. 

A website for the chatbot says it was created to help people learn more about their possible options when seeking abortion care, especially in states where the procedure has been restricted.

Charley will provide users with information about different abortion care methods, nearby clinics, accessing abortion pills and referrals to support services.

The chatbot draws on “a variety of reliable databases,” according to the website. Among its sources are the Abortion Policy API, a tool used to analyze and track abortion access, and an abortion provider database that the chatbot uses to compile resources and stay updated, according to Mashable

Charley is designed to not ask for users’ personal information and won’t share their information to third-party sites, according to the website, which adds that users’ conservations with the chatbot will be deleted from its database. 

Nicole Cushman, who oversees content development for Charley, told Mashable in an interview that the new chatbot is designed to provide users with viable information about the abortion care options available to them. 

“The search experience online, in particular, is really mired in confusion,” Cushman told the media outlet. “People wind up going on this scavenger hunt, trying to piece together all of the resources that make sense for them to get the care that they need.”

The launch of the new chatbot comes a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years earlier. As a result of the ruling, a number of GOP-led states have either implemented or enacted abortion bans and restrictions.

Charley was created with input from doctors, lawyers and 16 partner organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Abortion Access Front and the National Women’s Health Network, according to the website.

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