Many women who want to get abortion services are not aware of reliable medical acesses available to them and the caveats surrounding this area. The most prominent problem in the status quo is that pro-life clinics are using both deceptive names and manipulative interactions to dissuade women from getting an abortion. As an example, most Crisis Pregnancy Centers (pro-life) locate themselves right across real abortion clinics, use names such as “Women’s Choice Clinic”, and claims to offer “abortion consultation” that uses all means to make the woman feel guilty about her choice. With the belief that every individual deserves the autonomy over her body, we designed Preggy to ensure the right to free choice, unbiased informationand ready medical acess for women who seek abortion service or consultation.
What it does
Our product aims to use an interactive chatbot and map to provide users reliable and detailed information about abortion and display certified abortion clinics around them.
How I built it
We built the chatbot using Google's Dialogflow, which is powered by Google Cloud and provides easy construction of decision tree and automatic training of phrases. We achieved the fullfillment (for displaying rich responses) by linking our web app built with Node.js to Firebase's Cloud Functions through a web hook call. We also used Google Maps API to display the locations of and routes to abortion clinics and crisis pregnancy centers on our web.
Challenges I ran into
- Implementation of fulfillments (rich responses) on Dialogflow.
- Integration of the chatbot into our own website: all the intents and responses work correctly, but the fulfillments used to trigger rich responses only work on dialogflow console.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
First, we tried to make the interface as easy as possible, so we can allow for women from different social-economic and education backgrounds to inquire and understand the answers. Second, we don’t set up any storage for the data input from the user -- each user’s data gets removed at the end of each query. Third, we get the transportation possibilities and give women options to go out-of-state, due to some states’ legislations.
What I learned
We not only need technical skills to build an app. more importantly, building a web app requires the developer to make a series of value judgements that embed the developer's own beliefs and biases. For example, as pro-choice advocates ourselves, we choose to label only certified abortion clinics and warn users of the pro-life "fake clinics". Therefore, it's our responsibility to inform the users of this design choice, and make sure that they consent to the one-sided information before they use the product.
What's next for Preggy
First, we want to prototype the app on our real users, and incorporate their feedback. To achieve this, we will reach out to support groups for women who have unwanted pregnancy, and send the link to them. Second, we want to make the source code open to the public, so any organization or individual working towards the same goal can help us improve upon it. Third, we plan to contact the authors of the Safe Place Project to ask about her advice and opportunities for future collaboration. The Safe Place Project is a website that collects information on abortion clinics and legislative restriction in each state. If we can collaborate with her, we will be able to get automatic updates to our data about legislations, for example.