The first ad ever to offer advice on abortion services was screened on British television Monday night. In a country long known for its reserved demeanor, the ad has provoked vociferous praise and condemnation.
Much like the Focus on the Family ad featuring Tim Tebow that aired in the United States during the Super Bowl this year, the so-called “abortion ad” is fairly ambiguous. The 30-second spot features a number of women from different walks of life who are “late.” A voice-over then says that “Being late for a period could mean pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and not sure what to do, Marie Stopes International can help.” There is no mention of the word abortion. Just a closing shot with the words “Are you late?” and a phone number underneath. (You can watch it here).
Marie Stopes International is a non-profit network of sexual and reproductive health clinics in the U.K. analogous to Planned Parenthood in the United States. According to their chief executive, Dana Hovig, “We hope the new ‘Are you late?’ campaign will encourage people to talk about their choices, including abortion, more openly and honestly, and empower women to reach confident, informed decisions.” Last year alone, Marie Stopes International received 350,000 calls to its 24-hour helpline. The organization decided to commission the ad after a study found that less than half of U.K .adults said they would know where to go for specialist advice if they faced an unplanned pregnancy, other than to their general practitioner.
But many do not see this merely as an ad about making informed choices…
Image: 2007-07-14 Mattock Lane, Marie Stopes Clinic – All Deliveries To The Side Door