HG Wells once said that ‘advertising is legalised lying’. He would not have been thinking of TV adverts that promote the abortion industry when he said that, but I believe the same sentiment applies. Adverts on TV and radio that promote abortion sell it as a trivial and harmless procedure, which can easily be carried out in a lunch hour, with no long lasting effects or dangers. How far from the truth that is, and dangerous too, for those women who believe the adverts.
So far there has only been one major TV advertising campaign by an abortion provider, Marie Stopes International in 2010. However this would change if current proposals by the body that oversees TV and radio advertising, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) come to fruition. BCAP have recently consulted on whether to relax the laws governing advertising by ‘post-conception advice services’ (PCAS), which includes abortion providers, family planning centres as well as pregnancy counselling centres, so that more adverts would be shown on TV and radio promoting abortion. CMF has strongly opposed this proposal, and others, in a submission sent this week to BCAP.
Of course it is not just abortion providers who could advertise. Counselling and pregnancy advice centres could also advertise under the proposed new rules. However there are a couple of twists to that because BCAP is also proposing to introduce rules that we believe would have a directly discriminating effect on centres not linked into the abortion industry.