Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Marie Stopes Advert

Last night saw the UK's first “abortion advertisement”. It was so controversial that it made Fox “News” in the US where I'm sure it was debated fairly.
It was shown on Channel 4 and was quite late in the evening. The advert was sober in tone and showed that woman have options. In fact it looked a bit like this,

As you can see it is not an advert for abortion, as some would have you believe, it is an advert for an organisation that offer a range of services on reproductive health, most notably advice on contraception.
It is an advert for legally available services so why shouldn't it be advertised? Why shouldn't woman be able to access sensible, dispassionate advice on all aspects of their reproductive health? Well, if you listen to Religious groups and their newspaper writing friends, it will encourage woman to seek abortions. They seem to regard woman as of such weak will that merely seeing a phone number on an television screen for an advice service will make them think “best I terminate this pregnancy then”. They seem to think that a termination is on a par with making decisions about which fast food outlet to use or which insurance comparison website advert you hate the least so might consider using their service. It is not.
The reaction to this advert, or giving woman information on choice as it could also be seen, is, in my view, incredible offensive to woman. It assumes that they are silly and flighty and that they will do anything that they see on television rather than giving them credit for being able to make their own choices on this incredibly sensitive and emotional fraught issue. It seems to be their view that people make momentous decisions like this on a whim, barely considering the consequences, and that just isn't true. The assumption that giving people (I think that we should included men in this too although not to much as ultimately it is the woman's body and therefore her decision) all relevant information will lead to a massive rise in terminations is rather disingenuous to the intelligence of the people of the UK (but not Northern Ireland because the Advert wasn't shown there)
In the end it is possible that a full scale advertising campaign like this for Marie Stopes ,or similar organisations, may lead to a drop in unplanned pregnancies as people will be made more aware of their options as regards contraception but then I suppose that the type of people who don't like this advert probably don't like people using contraception either but as we all know abstinence only programs don't work.
More information is the key in reducing unplanned pregnancies not less, so I for one welcome this development, long may it continue.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that women should have access to information to help them in making informed decisions about contraception and understanding their body. This advert however appears to be aimed at women who are already pregnant therefore the only 'choice' they have to decide on is to keep their baby or kill it. I am concerned that advertising this service will make abortion seem normal to some women. I already know too many women who have had abortions for no other reason than because they couldn't be bothered to use contraception. Abortion is not a form of contraception, it is the unnecessary killing of an unborn child; a child who would bring love and joy to his or her parents if only s/he were given the chance to live.