Bishops Condemn UK Television Ads for Abortion, Banned in Northern Ireland

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 20, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bishops Condemn UK Television Ads for Abortion, Banned in Northern Ireland

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 20
, 2010

London, England ( — The Catholic bishops in England have joined with pro-life groups to condemn the showing of television advertisements for abortion. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland will prohibit the commercials form airing, as they will do on the Channel 4 station in England.

As reported Wednesday, the television station will begin airing advertisements starting next week for abortions for the British-based abortion business Marie Stopes international.

The leading pro-life group SPUC strongly condemned the ads.

Without the television and radio commercials, MSI has relied on magazines, taxi and bus ads, and advertising through alternative newspapers.

The new commercial asks women "Are you late?" and directs women to a hotline that directs to the abortion business.

A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales said, "We believe that services which offer or refer for abortion – whether commercial or not-for-profit organizations – should not be allowed to advertise on broadcast media."

"Abortion is not a consumer service. To present it as such erodes respect for life and is highly misleading and damaging to women, who may feel pressured into making a quick decision, which can never be revoked. Moreover, to allow the broadcasting advertising of abortion-referral services is, in effect, to allow the exploitative promotion of these services and is not in the interests of the health or psychological well-being of women," the representative said in a statement.

"For this reason the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has consistently opposed any relaxation of the BCAP Guidance on broadcast advertising to allow this," the statement added.

Meanwhile, Channel 4 will not allow the ads to air in Northern Ireland, where abortion is still illegal. The province is the only part of the United Kingdom where abortions are not allowed as the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply.

The commercials will first appear on May 24 during new live show The Million Pound Drop.

MSI chief executive Dana Hovig told the Digital Spy publication that it is "a shame" the ad won’t be shown in the pro-life portion of the island nation.

"Abortion continues to be severely restricted there and women in Northern Ireland are forced to travel to England for abortion services," she said. "Therefore the advertising of abortion facilities, their contact numbers or addresses is against the law in Northern Ireland."

But Bernie Smith of the pro-life group Precious Life told UTV News, "Commercialising the killing of unborn children is despicable."

"One in three women has an abortion in the UK. This commercial will go on to traumatize women suffering the after-effects of having had an abortion," she said.

In 2008, 215,975 abortions were performed in the UK, of which 195,296 were for women resident in England and Wales.

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