Bishops in England and Wales condemn abortion ads on TV


The Catholic Bishops' Conference in England and Wales has condemned TV ads promoting abortion services that recently aired throughout the United Kingdom, charging that the “exploitative promotion” of abortion is not “in the interests of the health or psychological well-being of women.”

Marie Stopes International, a self-described non-profit organization for sexual and reproductive health, will run TV ads for abortion services throughout the U.K. as part of their “Are you late?” campaign which is set to air until June 4.

“We hope the new ‘Are you late?’ campaign will encourage people to talk about abortion more openly and honestly, and empower women to make confident, informed choices about their sexual health,” said Dana Hovig, CEO of Marie Stopes International on May 20.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the bishops condemned the ads, stating 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,” the spokesperson added. “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 Bishops of England and Wales encourage and support women to make informed choices about their emotional, psychological and physical well-being,” the statement continued, adding that the bishops “support a number of charities which do this, in particular the organization called ‘LIFE’ which offers confidential information, counseling and practical help and support for women contemplating abortion, suffering after pregnancy loss or struggling to cope after abortion.”

John Smeaton, director for the U.K.-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), likewise condemned the ad campaign, charging that “Marie Stopes may claim to be a non-profit organization, but they have a financial interest in drumming up demand for abortion.”

Smeaton added that the pro-abortion organization has a history of displaying a “cavalier attitude to obeying legal restrictions regarding abortion, and has been implicated in illegal abortions overseas.”

“Although Marie Stopes claims to be a charity helping women,” he noted, “its huge multi-national revenue means it can afford TV advertising, which is hugely expensive. This creates an unfair playing field, as pro-life groups simply cannot afford any such advertising.”

“Allowing abortion to be advertised on TV will lead to more unborn babies being killed and to more women and girls suffering the after-effects of abortion,” Smeaton underscored. “Abortion ads will trivialize abortion. It is 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.”

The ads have already been banned in Northern Ireland, where the United Kingdom's Abortion Act of 1967 does not apply.

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