One of the UK’s largest abortion providers has announced that the country’s first ever abortion advert is to be screened on national television later this month.
But pro-lifers have slammed the ad, and warned that it is a cynical attempt to normalise abortions.
The advert by leading abortion provider Marie Stopes International (MSI) is due to be aired on 24 May on Channel 4, and will continue to be shown throughout June.
MSI, which earned around £60 million from abortions and other sexual health and reproductive services in 2008, claim the campaign will help women to make a more informed choice about their pregnancies and sexual health.
But Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, dismissed the need for abortion ads.
Mr Judge said: “Given that one in five British pregnancies ends in an abortion, it is hard to imagine that women are in the dark about abortion services.”
“This TV ad is not about information, it is a campaign ad by the abortion lobby to normalise what is, after all, an extremely sensitive subject. A TV commercial is not an appropriate medium for this”, he continued.
Mr Judge added: “Will the ad mention the medical risks of abortion – like financial services have to mention financial risks when advertising? Will pro-life pregnancy counselling services be permitted to advertise? Will this lead to a tit-for-tat ad war on abortion?
“This is not the direction we should be heading in. The decision to allow this ad makes a mockery of last year’s consultation which concluded that rules banning abortion ads for TV should not be changed.”
Earlier this year the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) indicated that plans to permit abortion adverts had been put on hold.
A statement from the advertising watchdog said: “In March 2009, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) consulted on a proposal to include a rule in the BCAP Advertising Code about post-conception advice services.
“In recent weeks, Ofcom and BCAP have identified some outstanding matters for further discussion on the proposal.”
It continued: “Therefore, when the new Broadcast Advertising Code is published, the regulatory position for advertisements for post-conception advice services will remain unchanged.”
The abortion ad campaign will focus on the question ‘Are you late?’ to grab the attention of women who may have missed their period.
In 2009 MSI was responsible for one in three abortions performed in England and Wales, and women with unwanted pregnancies who contact MSI are charged £80 for a consultation.
In 2008 a staggering 215,975 abortions were performed in the UK.
Last month it was revealed that a baby boy who survived a botched abortion at 22 weeks was wrapped in a sheet and left to die by staff at the Rossano Calabro hospital in Italy.
But the day after the abortion the baby boy, who still had his umbilical cord attached, was discovered moving and breathing by a Roman Catholic priest.
He was taken to another hospital where he died the next day.