UK: Marie Stopes Abortion Ad Gets Most Complaints in 50 Years

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2012   |   4:25PM   |   London, England

The controversial Marie Stopes International television commercial advertising abortions has generated more complaints to the agency that monitors television commercials in the U.K. than any other TV ad in the last fifty years.

The London Daily Mail indicates the Marie Stopes International ad generated 4,688 complaints including petitions groups ran that called on citizens to complain about the ads.

Before the Advertising Standards Authority issued a ruling in favor of a television advertisement by Marie Stopes International (MSI), the large Britain-based abortion business, it received 1,000 complaints about it.

Precious Life, the Northern Ireland pro-life group, launched a campaign with other pro-life groups like UK’s SPUC urging people to contact the ASA to complain about the screening of advertisements for abortions on television. Over 1000 complaints about the ad’s misleading nature went to the agency, but it announced they have rejected the complaints, claiming the ads did not mislead viewers because abortion wasn’t specifically mentioned.

At the time, Paul Tully, the general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), one of Britain’s leading pro-life groups, reacted with disappointment.

“Advertising abortion, whether directly or under the guise of so-called pregnancy advice’, is indecent and dishonest. Yet the ASA has approved showing TV ads from one of the biggest abortion-providers in the UK,” he told

“The ASA says the ad is not offensive, thus ignoring the fundamental nature of the ad’s message which is: ‘We can kill unborn babies’. This message is just as offensive as saying ‘We can kill immigrants’, ‘We can kill pedophiles’ or targeting any other disparaged group. It is simply casuistic of the ASA to hold that the ad isn’t advertising abortion,” he added.

Bernadette Smyth, the director of Precious Life, also emailed in response to the decision then.

“This is an outrage to claim the ads did not mislead viewers,” she said. “They misled viewers by portraying the Marie Stopes International abortion agency as a organization offering help to pregnant women.”

“What they didn’t show was the horrific reality of what they offer – the killing of their unborn children, nor did they show the physical and emotional harm suffered by women after Marie Stopes kill their children,” she added.



Smyth said that, under the 1990 Broadcasting Act, advertising can’t be offensive or harmful.

“These ads for abortion were offensive to the countless women physically and emotionally damaged by abortion, and lethally harmful to the hundreds of unborn children aborted every day,” she told

She added, “Marie Stopes International claims to be a non-profit organization, but that fact that they spent thousands of pounds on TV advertising proves they want to make even more money by drumming up demand for abortion. Marie Stopes International is not interested in helping women in crisis pregnancies. They are only interested in selling abortion. “