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Abortion ads on TV

Should abortion clinics be allowed to advertise on prime time TV and radio?

Published on March 27th 2009.

Abortion ads on TV
Yes: - 49%
No: - 51%

The advertising industry is governed by codes of practice designed to protect consumers and create a level playing field for the advertisers. The responsibility of what is allowed to be broadcast, lies with the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) and is then independently administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

As teenage pregnancy rates continue to soar in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is now beginning a three-month consultation to decide whether abortion clinics should be allowed to see their promotions broadcast in prime-time evening slots. This comes as a result of a review on advertising codes undertaken by the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP).

BCAP believe that in order to meet their rules, the abortion adverts should fulfil two policy objectives. These are: a) to allow post-conception pregnancy advice services the freedom to advertise and b) ensure that any advertisements for those services make clear whether the service refers women for abortion. And that's pretty much it.

Abortion clinic, Marie Stopes International is already considering advertising if the law comes into force.

With the last Government figures showing the City of Manchester as the country's fourth worst black-spot after Stoke and two inner London boroughs for teenage pregnancies, it's no wonder drastic, and controversial, measures have to be taken. Let's not tip-toe around the issue; teenagers have sex and some become pregnant as a result. They then have to make a decision about their future, and surely the more advice and options they have, the better.

There are already adverts advocating the use of condoms on TV and they too will be considered to be shown before the watershed. Promoting prevention in the first place is of course paramount, but let's face it, there'll always be teenagers who still get pregnant and need help. All sexual health services should be able to advertise and clearly state what they do freely, otherwise what's the point in having them? Education on such matters can only lead teenagers to a greater degree of responsibility.

But should this help come via peak time TV? This is the time of day of course when many of us sit down with the family for a TV dinner. We wind down from a day at work with light entertainment by the way of the Simpsons or Hollyoaks. If it gets the go-ahead such programmes will feature an interlude of information on where to get advise on abortion, followed closely by the type of question parents dread: “What's an abortion, mummy?”

Furthermore, is it right to show adverts which could be seen to promote abortion merely by the fact they are being shown at all? The backlash of this would be anti-abortion groups wanting to air their campaigns too? It could become very messy.

Many family campaigners and MPs are outraged by the proposals, insisting that propagating sexual information will only encourage promiscuity and therefore step up the abortion rate further.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) have so far sought the views of industry and policymakers on the matter. But now they want the views of the general public.

Do you think abortion clinics should be allowed to advertise on prime time TV and radio? Vote on the Manchester Confidential homepage.

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AMCMarch 27th 2009.

Absolutely not.

AnonymousMarch 27th 2009.

This whole debate has been sparked by increasing number of teen pregnancy. Has anyone actually considered the fact that abortion does not PREVENT pregnancy? Advertising abortion alongside contraception gives mixed messages about what abortion acutally is. It should not be considered as a method of contraception, and is wrong to encourage this way of thinking, for what is essentially a highly traumatic physical and emotional medical proceedure.

JinkiesMarch 27th 2009.

Forgot to say, I don't think abortion is an answer to pregnancy, it's an option women can use to help them choose a path forward. It should be a medical thing involving counselling and so on, not something advertised on tv that you can grab from boots on your daily shop.

AnonymousMarch 27th 2009.

YES! we are overpopulated and girls need to know they don't HAVE to have the child - it's their choice.

emma graceMarch 27th 2009.

I think if anything, it's just going to make it easier and more "the norm" to be in that situation. Advertising something like this on TV is too flippant in my opinion, and completely contradicts how serious this subject actually is.

scoteeeMarch 27th 2009.

agreed Ms G

AnonymousMarch 27th 2009.

I have mixed views on abortion. I think incases where the person isn't old enough to look after a child or because of indecencies, its fine. But if a girl is pregnant because of her choice not to use a condom on a "stupid one night stand" then tough, she has the chance to get the morning after pill, or take the pill, why should she be allowed an abortion.I remember when I was at school a lot of the girls I spent time with were very scally, and all they wanted to do was have a baby. I think schools need to teach children a bit more in depth rather than just teaching how to put a condom on a cucumber.

AnonymousMarch 27th 2009.

I don't think any pregnant woman takes the decision to have an abortion lightly. Its emotional, terrifying and guilt ridden. If you've never been in the position where you have had to consider this option then don't judge. The clinics are offering a service which they should be allowed to advertise for the benefit of those who need it.

NotvMarch 27th 2009.

No we don't need ads on TV especially if it's not government advice but commercial enterprises trying to sell abortions like insurance or beef.

Eleanor GeeMarch 27th 2009.

Absolutely no way. This is horrible. Let's walk in beauty and grace and not always be reminded of trouble

Single White FemaleMarch 27th 2009.

How ignorant of you Eleanor Gee. Lets just pretend that life is all sweetness? What planet are you living on.Abortion is the final, very difficult choice regarding an unwanted pregnancy. I agree with the person who said it will be trivialised by TV advertising. It shouldnt be advertised.Enough to tell her she has choices to discuss with her Doctor/ Counsellor

paulmMarch 27th 2009.

How long before we start to get special offers? "Recommend a friend for £50 off", etc!?I'm pro-choice, but also pro-education. That's what's needed.

emma graceMarch 27th 2009.

When are the powers that be going to learn that these sort of campaign's don't scare kids...if anything, they glamourise the issue. It's like the ads that are on TV at the moment about drugs; the one with the dog and that ridiculous one about cannabis. I'd be truly shocked if you found me one person who's watched those stupid ads and said "oh dear, better stop taking drugs then..."

paulmMarch 27th 2009.

Emma, do you not think they might put folk off starting though? Sure, normal recreational users do find them amusing (I'm told!) but I think perhaps the Frank adverts might actually be more effective than we suspect... this is based on conjecture I admit.

stejaskiMarch 27th 2009.

On GMTV the other morning, one of the twittering morons on there said "...and after the break, Abortion adverts and Girls Aloud". Case rested.

emma graceMarch 27th 2009.

Exactly. I can see it now, you're watching Corrie and the ads come on. Coca Cola, DFS, abortion, Morrisons. It's ludicrous

CastlefieldMarch 27th 2009.

I know emma grace! To think they let DFS advertise before the watershed is awful. Scandal.

stejaskiMarch 27th 2009.

Can we ban girls aloud AND abortion adverts?

AnonymousMarch 27th 2009.

I think an advert is in poor taste.I feel if you are in this position you will be given guidance as where and what to do next, it is not a light descission and it would more than likely cause outrage for no reason and it could also promote abortion.I feel it is a very personal choice and should be left to the person not the public.

jaybeeMarch 27th 2009.

Since the Abortion Act was introduced in 1967 over six million children have been done away with....yes, done away with, killed! I would suggest all 14 years old and upwards sit through the horrific film of an actual abortion... "The Silent Scream" and still have unprotected sex! Watch the baby being pulled apart, limb by limb, pieces of skull being sucked out and then tell us if this is a civilised act! How a doctor can perform such brutalities is beyond me. Unless there is a proven and serious threat to a womans life then it should be illegal. Craven politicians tell us that we need immigration because of our falling birth rate and our ageing population, no wonder! 6 million killed in this Holocaust, 6 million denied life and the chance to have their own children. The useless C of E is not interested, the Bishop f Manchester wants to become a politician, no-one will notice him gone!

paulmMarch 27th 2009.

Jaybee, where do you get those figures from? Is that 6 million abortions, or 6 million "abortive actions", which would include morning after pills, often taken out of speculative precuation?

AnonymousMarch 27th 2009.

Successive governments have failed in their attempts to stem the number of teenage pregnancies, ploughing millions of taxpayers' money into this "project". Now they change tack and plough yet even more money into advertising abortions. The powers that be won't condone euthenasia for the terminally ill and dying but will happily advertise the taking of new life. I'm not against abortion but cannot accept it as a form of birth control.

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