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Does advertising for abortion on TV cross the line?

May 20th, 2010
03:45 PM ET

A British non-profit group says it plans to air the country's first TV ad for abortion services, drawing criticism
from at least one Catholic group.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/20/abortion.art.jpg caption="Does advertising for abortion on TV go too far?"]

The organization, Marie Stopes International, will air its first commercial next week in what is being described as an initial attempt of British Television to "confront the taboo" of abortion.

The commercial will direct viewers to a telephone help line which, Marie Stopes claims will offer advice on getting an abortion.

"Clearly there are hundreds of thousands of women who want and need sexual health information and advice, and access to services," Marie Stopes International's CEO Dana Hovig said.

"Last year alone we received 350,000 calls to our 24 hour help line."

There has however been strong opposition to the commercial from anti-abortion activists.

The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child told the Independent newspaper that they would try every means to stop the broadcast.

"Marie Stopes may claim to be a non-profit organisation, but they have a financial interest in drumming up demand for abortion. We are taking advice regarding the legality of the scheduled advertisement," a spokesperson said.

We want to know what you think.

Do you think advertising for abortions or help lines on television crosses the line?

Please leave your comments below and let us know where you're writing from.

Filed under:  General
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Sonya

    Yes it crosses the line! Why not show adds for abstinence, adoption, and birth control.

    May 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  2. T. Keller

    In the US, many prolife commercials have been refused on TV, not because of graphic content, but because they are politically incorrect.

    Pro abortion people really aren't for informed "choice", lay out all the facts and let a woman decide. They want to hide the reality of abortion, the development stages of the baby and the impact on the pregnant woman of having an abortion.

    May 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  3. jh


    You make it sound like pro-choice people are trying to "trick" people into having abortions.Pro Choice means just that – CHOICE.

    There is no one in their right mind that thinks abortion is the only option. Abortion is only one of many legal options available to the women who, for whatever reason, have an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.

    May 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  4. Jesse

    No it crosses no line, abortion is legal and can have advertisements if groups choice. Also, I think other options (i.e. adoption or keeping the child) can have ads shown as well. This way everyone has access to all available information for they can make the best decision for their specific situation.

    May 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  5. marcus flores

    Ok, CNN, you didn't have the guts to publish the truth about abortion as I phrased it. Let America see abortion on the available videos. Show your viewers how children get torn to bits in their mother's wombs and extracted piecemeal, then flushed down the john, sometimes. What respect for human life, eh? your reluctance (because the moderator disappeared my previous comment) to print my statements are certainly a good sign-of-the-times. Show America a video of the partial-birth abortion technique, as well.ONLY then will you have presented a balanced picture, the truth and the WHOLE truth, I mean. Be politically-incorrect. Then the American Public can judge for themselves what has and what has not crossed the line!
    Marcus Flores (writing from Malta).

    May 20, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  6. akka69

    to "Sonya"
    Because unwanted pregnancies do exist in too great anumber and "abstinence" or "birth control" recommandations are too late...

    As for adoption, it's a courageous choice, but not a simple one.
    The psychological scar on the mother is a long-lasting one, of the same magnitude than abortion.
    In that case, it should be up to her to chose.

    I agree she should be presented with all available options.

    May 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  7. Aaron

    No, they really do trick them. When a woman walks into an abortion clinic she is not counselled on all her options. She is speedily steered toward the one option that brings money in for the clinic, an abortion. I've seen the hidden camera footage. Even a woman who asks very direct questions and who has reservations is steered away from those questions and practically given a hard sell! Would it really be so bad if someone who had initially thought about an abortion decided not to have one? Apparently it would be, for the abortion doctors. It's like it's their civic duty to abort babies and they feel no need to entertain any other options. Just erase it. "It" because it's just a lump of non-living flesh that doesn't feel. Right? What if your mom had decided to erase YOU because you were inconvenient? You can lie to yourself and say that would be her choice, but if you REALLY were given the choice to be alive today or to have never existed, what would YOU choose? Every fetus has the potential to become a fully realized human being with all the rights associated with that. It is the snuffing out of human potential that makes abortion wrong. Not a belief in God or anything like that. It's the belief that a single human being has the potential to change the world.

    May 20, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  8. Keira

    Sexual health advice and information as well as access to services, sounds like a great idea. Why not?? But I don't think they should profit from it. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly, so I don't agree about them making a profit.

    If they want to help someone who doesn't know whether she should have an abortion or not, great. Like it or not abortion IS a legal choice. It's not the only choice but it IS a choice. Women should always be able to make an informed decision about their bodies. No one else can decide for you.


    May 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  9. Dave Bear

    Imagine if Auswitch had been run as a commercial enterprise and had advertised its caring and compassionate advice on relationships with your Jewish neighbors.

    May 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  10. kate

    How is an ad for a legal medical procedure, if done tastefully any worse than the ads for men's erection problems, or vaginal itching or tampons or PMS or herpes or preganancy tests shown at dinner time accross the world?

    And to all you people out there (especially men) who keep ranting on about how "psychologically damaging" a woman's choice to have an abortion – get over yourselves and stop speaking for all women who have made the choice. You do not even have a clue as to how women may feel and stop projecting your own value sytem on others. Every woman knows it is a personal choice and no one forces that choice on them. But to deny a woman the right to choice, now THAT is forcing a "choice" upon them whcih they are completely left out of...

    It is never a situation anyone wants to be in but thankfully it still remains a CHOICE, as in an OPTION when dealing with a pregnancy. Pro-Choice supporters are not advocates for terminating all pregnancies; we are advocates for women to maintain control and dominion over their own lives and to make the best personal decision for themselves

    May 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  11. Allison

    It does not cross a line! If they can advertise for all other services, and the medical field can advertise for restless leg syndrome, and companies can advertise for alcohol and fast food (also risky behavior/ and questions of morality)- then why not abortion!

    Moral values should be taught in the home- everyone perscribes to a different set of beliefs, and information and should be free.

    If you think that you can limit my rights based on a social issue, then go back to a monarchy system where you put all faith in one leader instead of a a consensus. We live in a democracy- if you don't want to have your kids getting abortions, then teach them!!!! I Have been a sexually responsible person since I was 16- I have never gotten an std, and I have never gotten pregnant. I now have been married for 10 years, and if my husband and I were to get pregnant- we would still consider terminating the pregnancy- we still use birthcontrol and condoms- something that some religious "morals" prohibit as well.

    Guess what- I don't live a crappy life, and I don't need a handout because I have been responsible. Prohibition is not the answer- education is!

    I agree that all other options should be able to advertise as well- like birth control companies. But people who believe in the right to choose should have the same rights to advertise and get information.

    May 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  12. Stef

    Off course it's a good thing – why shouldn't woman KNOW they can have an abortion if they had to or wanted to. Personally I think there should be a warning before advertising religious content as that's child abuse!

    May 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  13. cassandra

    its going to far, yes its a woman choice and it is a necesaryd evil for incidents of rape, incest , helth reasons etc,.
    But there is no need to commercialize it.

    May 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  14. Melanie

    It is crossing the line. It is deliberately advertising a service that has horrendous consequences that societies refuse to talk about. Our sophisticated societies love to talk about the choice but rarely the consequence. No one wants to talk about the mental agony that women and men suffer – everyday thinking about the child that is no more, that they can't bring back, the life that they destroyed so they can continue to have sex without consequence. But guess what there is no such thing. Let the truth be known, the word legal cannot still the human conscience – it is relentless, pouncing and intrusive – images of the cute little baby untimely destroyed in the name of choice- always there. Life is never the same after abortion. Women and men who know speak up!

    May 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Reply

    I discovers that alot of women and young girls , ladies dies every year in the process doing abortion. so we should put a stop to this devilish arts because it is not of GOD, it is of satan. I SAY YES THAT ADVERTISING ON TELEVISION CROSSES LINES.

    May 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  16. Archie Hill

    I am always against abortion because it is a sin to kill an innocent child.,;'

    May 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  17. Ruskiryan

    I feel that abortion adverts should not be shown on TV, I am not anti or pro abortion. I feel that the woman has the right to choose what is best for her. I just feel that in todays society as in past years some subjects should remain private and between Doctors and their patients. Schools should be able to teach human anatomy to teenage children so that they can have as much information available to them as possible. also I feel that this subject should not be used as a political pawn.
    as a teenager I was amazed and slightly shocked when companies started to advertise Tampons and sanitary products on prime time TV.
    Mothers have a duty to educate their daughters and Fathers should do the same for their sons. at least then between the schools and the parents our children would be able to make educated informed decisions for themselves.
    as for the Anti groups, well I am sorry but it is none of your business what decision a girl makes regarding her own body.

    Iam an adult male with children, what decisions they make in their lives will be their choice, I will be there for them and to stand by them.

    May 30, 2010 at 9:56 am | Reply
  18. Vanessa Bennett

    we should ban all forms of abortion because it is not right to kill an unborn child;*:

    August 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  19. Charlie Wilson

    Abortion must not be allowed and banned in all countries.~*

    October 7, 2010 at 3:34 am | Reply
  20. Halogen Cooker

    what i can say is that abortion is a sin and it should be deemed illegal by all means ,-,

    December 4, 2010 at 5:54 am | Reply
  21. Robyn Tresler

    Very good blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here? I'd really like to be a part of group where I can get comments from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

    May 24, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply

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