Some facts are more correct than others, or so it seems in Australia.
This summer, Australian authorities censored a series of pro-life advertisements that presented a simple fact about human development.
The ads, a project of the pro-life group Emily’s Voice, ran on buses and a billboard in New South Wales. They showed a pregnant woman’s stomach with hands making the shape of a heart around it. The message read, “A heart beats at four weeks,” and included the organization’s website notbornyet.com.
The seemingly uncontroversial ads were removed this summer after abortion activists complained to local authorities and the advertising company, 10 Daily reports.
A spokesperson for the advertising company oOh! media admitted that the ad did not violate any advertising codes; however, after receiving complaints, they re-reviewed the ad “under the microscope” and decided that it violated company guidelines, according to the local news.
“Respecting the fact that it could cause offense to a significant section of the community, the advert was put under the microscope of our review panel which deemed that the advert should be removed as it did not meet with our own guidelines,” the spokesperson said.
The company said it planned to “immediately” remove the ad this week from its billboard along Pacific Highway in Lack Macquarie. The company also said it gave Emily’s Voice a refund.
According to talk radio station 2GB 873 AM, the organization’s ads also were removed from buses in Newcastle in June. Transport Minister Andrew Constance was a key advocate for their censorship, saying he was “appalled” by the message of the ads.
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“What is it about a pregnant tummy and a statement like that that is so appalling?” Wendy Francis of the Australian Christian Lobby asked radio host Ben Fordham. “Women are certainly mature enough to have this conversation. There’s nothing about even telling women what to do with their bodies in this ad.”
Francis said the billboard just states a fact about human development.
“What is so politically incorrect about speaking truth these days?” she asked.
An unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable by about six weeks of pregnancy, though research indicates it may begin beating earlier. In 2016, researchers at the University of Oxford published a study indicating that the heartbeat may begin by 16 days of pregnancy.
Paul O’Rourke, CEO of Emily’s Voice, said their goal simply is to support women facing unplanned pregnancies.
“Our ads seek to give hope and encouragement to women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy with reliable, timely information and personal stories about other women and families facing an unplanned pregnancy,” he told 10 Daily.
The organization “exists to help Australians fall in love with the unborn and encourage and support women facing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy,” according to its website.
Pro-life groups also are being censored in Canada. Earlier this month, a ruling by the Canadian Ad Standards council forced the Kelowna Right to Life Society to remove its billboard advertisement, according to Global News Canada. The ad read, “Our right to life does not depend on location” beside pictures of a pregnant woman and a person holding a baby.