British Government Says Most Britons Object to MSI Television Ads on Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 11, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Government Says Most Britons Object to MSI Television Ads on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 11
, 2010

London, England ( — Thousands of Britons have objected to the television commercials the Marie Stopes Institute abortion business ran on television last month. The official count of respondents in the day following the commercials found 98 percent of those who took the time to lodge their reaction were opposed to the ads.

British television viewers saw an ad promoting abortions for the first time on television on Channel 4.

The Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice allowed rules changes that paved the way for the new ads. Without the television and radio commercials, MSI had relied on magazines, taxi and bus ads, and advertising through alternative newspapers.

Yesterday in Parliament, Lord Alton of Liverpool asked the British government what response it has received since the commercials aired.

Lord Shutt of Greetland, deputy chief whip in the House of Lords, indicated that, as of May 26, 603 pieces of electronic correspondence have been received from members of the public about the MSI commercials and MPs have received five more. Of the total received, 607 oppose the showing of television advertisements for abortion.

John Smeaton of the British pro-life group SPUC responded to the figures.

"The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport , has the power to insist that Ofcom controls advertising in this area," he said. "We call upon him to intervene immediately."

Smeaton also asked pro-life advocates to make their views known to the British government and their members of Parliament.

"Abortion ads will trivialize abortion. They are an insult to the hundreds of women hurt by abortion every day. Such ads are offensive and will mislead viewers about the reality of abortion," he said.

Christian Legal Centre director Andrea Minichiello-Williams also opposed the ads.

"Over 200,000 abortions take place each year in the UK and the figures are not falling. So-called ‘family planning’ is a multimillion-pound industry and should not be aided by TV advertising," she said. "The notion that the destruction of human life can be advertised freely on TV as a service to the public is outrageous."

The television commercials asks if women "are late" — in terms of whether they missed their last period — and advises them to call a 24-hour abortion hotline.

Marie Stopes International chief executive Dana Hovig told the Sun that the abortion business received 350,000 calls last year and hopes to increase that number with the television spots.

SPUC points out that, technically, abortion is in English law a criminal offence and advertising of a criminal offence is not permitted. Also, English law also prohibits the advertising of restricted (i.e. on prescription) medical procedures, such as abortion.

"The Broadcasting Act 1990 requires that advertising is not offensive or harmful. Abortion is offensive to the countless women damaged by abortion; and lethally harmful to the hundreds of unborn children aborted every day," the SPUC official continued.

Last year 29,000 people signed a SPUC-organized paper petition to the prime minister against a proposal to allow abortion agencies to advertise on television and radio.

Related web sites:
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –


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