‘Abortion Advert’ controversy in the UK

There’s some controversy in the UK about an advert (which you can watch here) from Marie Stopes (which is a sexual health charity), which is to air on television.

I don’t know about you, but it seems hard, upon watching, to see this as anything other than an attempt to inform about available services. In fact, it has been the advert was in part motivated by the finding that many women did not know what resources might be available, or how to access them, in the case of unwanted pregnancy.

All the more baffling, then, to see opponents of these describe them as portraying abortion as ‘just another consumer service’. That claim seems to rely on the following false assumption: that all television adverts market consumer services. But of course many television adverts are not of this kind: public health broadcasts (to which these adverts are surely most analogous), party political broadcasts, are but some of the counter-examples.

There’s another tirade against the adverts here. I haven’t picked apart all the fallacious arguments in it yet, but feel free to do so. It might be useful for critical thinking classes.

4 thoughts on “‘Abortion Advert’ controversy in the UK

  1. it’s weird: the ad never even mentions abortion. they simply say that marie stopes can help you sort out what to do. and i assume that means what it sounds like it means: that they can inform you of your options and help you figure out what’s right for you. your gp could do the same. i assume there wouldn’t be a problem with running an ad encouraging women to talk to their gps if they were ‘late’. so, it seems like people taking issue w the ad mustn’t be taking issue with _the ad_.

  2. The ad makes it seem as though the women are competent enough to make decisions about their pregnancies all by themselves.

    It is very sad to think that many people find that objectionable.

  3. elp: I think you assume too generously. I can well imagine a similar outcry. ‘NHS pushing abortion on women’?!?
    I suppose it just shows (more support for your conclusion) that the outcry is not really about the advert, but rather about (maybe) the availability of abortion in the first place.

    And – jj – I suppose if someone objects to that, they’d likely object to women competently deciding to make use of those available resources.

  4. it doesn’t say a thing about abortion. i see no advocacy going on here, just the information that the group is available to help.

    for quite a few years, there have been pro-life clinics in the US that sound like they will offer various options for women who unexpectedly find themselves pregnant, but only one option is presented — and there is heavy pressure against seeking abortions elsewhere. these seem deceptive, and bother me a lot.

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