SPUC tells BCAP why weakening restrictions on abortion ads is wrong

Editor’s note. This appeared on the blog of John Smeaton, executive director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

The Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) consultation has proposed, among other things, that rules barring commercial abortion providers from advertising on TV be relaxed. SPUC has made a submission to BCAP to point out why its proposals must be completely rejected.

Allowing abortion providers to advertise their ‘services’ on TV means treating abortion as though it is any other ‘service’, even though this purportedly medical service is, in fact, nearly always performed for social reasons and is not a normal service.

Such advertising will be socially harmful, not least because it has “the effect of normalising the treatment of children as wanted or unwanted products”.

While abortion providers offer little or no practical help to women who choose not to have an abortion, and in a number of cases campaign for an extreme liberalisation of current abortion laws, those organisations which refuse to refer for abortion and which do offer genuine practical assistance to pregnant women are not benefitted in any way, while abortion-providers are.

Of the requirement that any PCAS services must state if they do not refer for abortion, SPUC has noted that those organisations which are not directly or indirectly part of the abortion industry will be singled out as “the assumption [of the BCAP Consultation] is that abortion is so normal a procedure that those groups wishing to assist women in bringing their babies to term are required to warn women explicitly that they will not ‘assist’ them in doing the reverse. Such a requirement would not be made of other counsellors.”

BCAP have returned in their quest to weaken restrictions on abortion advertising. Their latest consultation discriminates against prolife charities and seeks to treat abortion as no different from any other commercial service. Allowing such advertising will further betray women who have already been let down by our society.

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