Surge of complaints after controversial abortion ad

Hundreds of outraged viewers have complained after the nation’s first ever televised abortion ad aired last month.

The 30-second abortion ad, which was shown on Channel 4, focuses on the question ‘Are you late?’ to grab the attention of women who may have missed their period.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now received 370 complaints from offended viewers and Channel 4 has received over 600 more, according to The Daily Telegraph.


Marie Stopes International (MSI) claim that the campaign will help women make informed choices about unwanted pregnancies.

But critics have warned that the ad will exploit vulnerable women, and a group of MPs have lodged a protest against the ad.

Michaela Aston, from the pro-life charity Life, cautioned: “To allow abortion providers to advertise on TV, as though they were no different from car companies or detergent manufacturers, is grotesque.


“By suggesting that abortion is yet another consumer choice, it trivialises human life and completely contravenes the spirit of the 1967 Abortion Act, which was supposed to allow for a small number of legal abortions in a limited number of hard cases, but has been twisted and distorted to allow for mass abortion on demand”, she added.

Vivianne Pattison, chairman of radio and television watchdog Mediawatch UK, said: “We are not a pro-life group but we do have issues with this because women with an unplanned pregnancy are in a vulnerable position.”

And Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said: “Every abortion involves a personal tragedy for a mother and a child which will have lasting consequences whether immediately felt or not.”


A group of three MPs have also lodged an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.

The MPs called on the Government to find out if any women had ever chosen to have their babies after being counselled by MSI, and how many of their patients are now suffering from post-abortion trauma.

The trio also expressed concern that the controversial ad was in breach of broadcast regulations, and they challenged the ASA’s claim that the commercial isn’t advertising abortion.


The ad is due to be screened until the end of June, but it will not be aired in Northern Ireland as abortion is currently illegal.

MSI is named after the feminist campaigner Marie Stopes, but critics have pointed out that she was a staunch supporter of eugenics, and the compulsory sterilisation of those deemed “totally unfit for parenthood”.

Last month it was revealed that there were a staggering 195,743 abortions performed in England and Wales, with a further 13,005 terminations being performed in Scotland, during 2009.


The official stats reveal that of the abortions carried out on women resident in England and Wales, 63,309 – 34 per cent of the total – were for women who had previously had at least one abortion.

And of the abortions carried out in Scotland, this figure stood at 3,658, accounting for 28 per cent of the total.

Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said Britain’s high abortion rates are an “inevitable consequence of a society that has made an idol out of sexual pleasure.”

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