Illinois Newspaper Censors Pro-Life Ultrasound Abortion Ads as "Too Graphic"

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 9, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Newspaper Censors Pro-Life Ultrasound Abortion Ads as "Too Graphic" Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 9, 2006

Joliet, IL ( — An Illinois newspaper is coming under fire from pro-life advocates for censoring pro-life advertisements featuring babies and ultrasounds as "too graphic" to be allowed. In an interview, the Joliet Herald-News newspaper defends its decision.

Will County Right to Life attempted to purchase ads on the January anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, but the newspaper told them no.

When asked by the Cybercast News Service about the decision, the paper’s advertising manager, Steve Vanisko, stood by the "too graphic" label. He said the newspaper reserves the right to deny any ad for any reason.

He first denied the term "too graphic" was used to reject the ads, but later admitted that’s what he told the pro-life group.

"That’s not what I’m saying (that the term ‘graphic’ was never used)," Vanisko told CNS News. "I’m saying that the newspaper reserves the right, just like any other paper, to reject any ad for any reason. And that’s what we did. Period. End of story."

Jill Stanek, an Illinois nurse who exposed life-birth abortions that led to legislation signed by President Bush protecting babies who survive botched abortions, condemned the refusal to run the ads.

"Since when are ultrasounds "graphic," she asked. "In fact, these ultrasound photos are beautiful. Parents proudly display them on their refrigerators, for goodness sakes."

She said she contacted the newspaper herself about running the ads and after it refused the first one, saying "Excuse me America, this is tissue, this (the unborn child) is not," she offered a different ad with the text "She’s a child, not a choice." That, too, was rejected.

A third ad with the text, "I am an American," featuring a different ultrasound photo, was also denied by the Joliet newspaper.

"In exasperation, we asked which ads the newspaper would accept," Stanek told CNS News, "and they said they would accept (ads with babies already born). But we determined those ads did not portray the message we wanted to portray. After all, Roe versus Wade is all about the rights of pre-born babies, not post-born babies."

The National Right to Life Committee produces the ads, and chapter field coordinator Holly Smith said the Herald News must have a pro-abortion agenda to have rejected the ads.

"I was surprised from an objective standpoint that (the Herald News) wouldn’t run the ads but it seems that they’re protecting their own pro-abortion interests," Smith said. "There’s no other reason to refuse them if there wasn’t some political motive."

TAKE ACTION: Contact the Herald News and express your opinion about their denying pro-life ads in their newspaper. Joliet Herald News, 300 Caterpillar Drive, Joliet, Illinois 60436 • (815)729-6161. You can also contact senior editor Bill Wimbiscus at 815-729-6124 or [email protected].

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