Thursday 26 March 2009

Broadcast advertising of abortion a "hammer blow" says bishop

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is considering lifting its ban on abortion agencies advertising through the broadcast media.

It's good to see Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue's timely comments on this latest development. He calls it "another hammer blow to the sanctity of life in this country" which comes "from the heart of the abortion industry" and he calls on society to offer "practical and compassionate support to women facing crisis pregnancies".

The ASA's proposal threatens to further commercialise the killing of unborn children. It would completely disregard the adverse effect of abortion on women's health. Agencies with a financial interest in abortion will be in a position to buy expensive broadcast advertising, whereas groups which provide objective information about abortion and its impact on women's health will be unlikely to afford to advertise.

Abortion agencies mislead women, by telling them that their unborn babies are just products of conception, and that abortion is not killing but simply ending a pregnancy.

The ASA has said that its move has been made in repsonse to government requests. That's because the government's sexual health strategy is failing and the government is now desperate.

I note the proposed requirement that any group advertising counselling services for pregnant women must make clear if the group does not refer women for abortion. SPUC will be scrutinising the ASA's proposals closely for any similar signs of potential discrimination against pro-life groups. The ASA already demonstrated a bias against pro-life groups when it attempted to ban advertisements which stated correctly that morning-after pills may cause early abortions.

SPUC's also concerned about the proposal to allow advertisements on television for condoms before the 9pm watershed. Such a move would only serve to sexualise young people, and the resulting promiscuity would lead to more abortions, more teenage pregnancies and more sexually transmitted infections.

What sort of culture are we handing on the next generation, where condoms and killing babies are offered alongside cornflakes and washing powder? We should try to be a culture of life and responsibility, not a culture of death and promiscuity. The ASA's reported move is going in totally the wrong direction: a "hammer blow" as the good bishop of Lancaster says.