Monday, May 24, 2010

Advertising abortion

Channel 4 is carrying advertisements for Marie Stopes - the first ever advertisements on British television promoting abortion services. The campaign aims to 'empower women to reach confident, informed decisions about their sexual health'.

How informed?

It will not be a balanced and fair appraisal of both sides.

It features a number of women of different ages from varying walks of life who might be 'late'. The disembodied angelic voice informs the women that being late for a period could mean pregnancy. And the compassionate counsellor reassures: "If you're pregnant and not sure what to do Marie Stopes International can help."

What kind of help?

It will not be neutral, for Maries Stopes has a business to run.

But Cranmer is a little perplexed.

If abortion advertisements are now permitted in the UK (actually, just Great Britain, for in Northernm Ireland abortion remains illegal), why is the 'Pro-Life' movement not permitted to advertise to 'empower women to reach confident, informed decisions about their physical and spiritual health'?

Why on earth should this tasteful video be censored from the national airwaves?

Perhaps consideration might be given to broadcasting the really gruesome truth after the watershed.


Blogger English Viking said...

In what way is killing unborn children 'healthy'?

24 May 2010 at 20:13  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

Excellent post, Your Grace. There are, of course, no rational grounds for not showing the pictures of the developing baby; it is just a depiction of the way things are. Sometimes the pro-life movement resorts to "shock tactics", but I think positive images are equally effective, for those who are capable of reflection.

24 May 2010 at 20:40  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

More internationalist, globalist population reduction. You only qualify for airtime if the agenda amounts to a cull.

But then, a free market economy, endless amounts of government privatisation under Thatcher and Blair, has paved the way for such lucrative openings.

Cameron gave a clear message, the UK is open for business!

24 May 2010 at 20:55  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I am in full agreement that the public conciousness has become conditioned in most cases to accept that abortions have become to mean nothing more than just another branch of the 'cosmetic' surgery variety. This is a wrong that needs and has needed for a long time to be subject of urgent revision.

Obviously, only the woman herself knows how she will react, when she has to live with the physical and mental fall out that she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

I do not agree with the total pro-life position at any cost philosophy, or indeed that it is a matter for men to even have a negative or positive input or influence. I feel that a great dis-service has been done to efforts to de-stigmatise the right of women to decide for themselves what happens to and within their own bodies by not reducing the maximum gestation period for abortion to 12 weeks or less. This after all, is the crucial time-period where-in 'natural' miscarriages are likely to happen. Within this time window, relatively stress free (for woman and foetus) abortion is possible through chemical application.

The full brutality of the dismemberment that may be required after this time, has to be made more obvious by means of explanation within the sex education programme currently being delivered to all children of the appropriate age and to the wider public in general.

The UKs high levels of abortion and teen pregnancies prove the need for serious social reform. We have as a society, cheapened the new life concept and encouraged a casual acceptance of childbirth without the commitment of established and committed parental responsibility.

Spending taxpayers money on supporting single motherhood is wrong. Spending taxpayers money on unlimited abortions as a means of birth control or gender selection is equally wrong. But, banning abortion altogether is neither fair or reasonable, there has to be a compromise where Society's and the woman's interests are considered and justly served.

Honest and universal education is the only answer and the Marie Stopes Foundation with its commendable history in the matters of women's welfare and status within or without of a stable partnership, should be one of the best providers for this facility outside that of normal schooling. But in the end, I believe that this is a matter that should be left entirely for women to resolve.

If advertising that help and support is available for a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, combined with a reality check, then this is surely a good move in the right direction towards retrieving a broken society.

24 May 2010 at 21:49  
Blogger English Viking said...



PS. You were quick to brand me a Nazi just last Friday, for no lesser a crime than expressing orthodox Christian doctrine. Why do you now support a known Nazi sympathiser, who advocated eugenics and is responsible for industrialised slaughter on a scale to rival her poster-boy, Mr A. Hitler?

Can you see how inconsistent your atheism cause you to be?

24 May 2010 at 22:39  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

The promotion of abortion should not be advertised on television. That is the most appalling and sick making advertisement that I have seen and it's a step too far.

Women who are pregnant or suspect pregnancy do not need advertisements like that at all. They go to their GP or family planning clinic and get tested. They then can talk things through with a councillor where they are advised to discuss things with their family if they can and most importantly the father to be. I think if the circumstances are really against them and the father can't support her and a child or another child. then the adoption route is best as there are many couples who are unable to bear children are going abroad for children whereas if they could adopt here it would be much better.

But if abortion is the only route then the GP will refer the patient to a Marie Stopes clinic anyway so why should they have to advertise? Business a bit slack lately or was it the Labour lot who decided to promote this as a culling method? They should have thought about this issue when they let in all those immigrants who breed for disasters and pestilence, but as there are none in our country so we quickly become as over populated as Bangladesh, Nigeria, the Congo and others.

Just stick to advertising condoms and promoting responsibility not to get pregnant if you cannot afford to or are not ready to have a family. Abortion should NOT be viewed as an alternative birth control method, but ads like that encourage just that.

A new life is a miracle in itself and should not be discarded like a used tampon! Those little babies could be tomorrows leading scientists, journalists and academics, then again they might be the opposite I've seen both sides it's a risk one takes but a new life deserves a chance.

In an over populated world another new life becomes valueless and can be extinguished as fast as a candle.

25 May 2010 at 01:10  
Anonymous len said...

The very fact of having to explain why it is wrong to kill an unborn infant shows just how wretched mankind has become. Many proclaim the rights of women to abort unwanted infants, what about the rights of the unborn? Since the right of an unborn child to life is greater than the right of a woman to use abortion as a means of birth control, and since the woman’s right to be free from pregnancy is not as great as the unborn’s right to be free from life-threatening violence, therefore, a law that reverses the order of these rights is unjust in the extreme and those who support it have innocent blood on their hands.

25 May 2010 at 07:43  
Blogger I am Stan said...

Your Grace,

Abortion = infanticide.

25 May 2010 at 09:07  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

I agree that if pro-abortion ads can be shown then so to should anti-abortion ones. Personally I would prefer to see neither. I fully support sex education and in particular contraceptive advice to young people. However I agree with Cranmer that the reality of abortion should also be discussed and videos shown, this would help prevent abortion being used as anything but the last resort.

The problem is with the message at the end of this one: “Dear Lord thank you for the gift of life”. You don’t need to invoke the supernatural to persuade people that abortion is a horrendous act just show it and many will respond instinctively. As most people are ambivalent to religion and some like me hostile to it, mixing the messages is unlikely to be effective.

Abortion is horrible but so is an unwanted child so for the time being at least it should be tolerated even by someone like me who has a moral objection to it. Life is messy; head in the sand, just say no, deny contraceptive advice and religious disapproval just leads to the Sarah Palin situation. We have to deal with society as it is not as we would like it to be but that doesn’t mean that we should not continually strive to make it better.

25 May 2010 at 09:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

English Viking said:-
Why do you now support a known Nazi sympathiser

I freely admit I was unaware of her record in these matters and fully take the point. It does make me now a little wary of regarding the woman as a champion of women's 'health' related issues.

The fact still remains that because of her work women in poverty condition throughout the world have been made aware of contraception and of their right not to be seen as baby machines.

25 May 2010 at 10:39  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

R (On the application of Prolife Alliance) v BBC was an appeal by the BBC against the ruling that they had been wrong to refuse to broadcast a party election broadcast by the Prolife Alliance on the ground that it contained offensive material.

The party election broadcast showed an abortion. Television channels refused to broadcast it on the grounds of taste, decency and the public interest.

Prolife argued that argued that this refusal to broadcast the video infringed its right to freedom of expression under Article 10(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The BBC argued that this refusal was "necessary in a democratic society" for protecting the interests and morals of others in accordance with Article 10(2).

The House of Lords accepted the BBC’s view.

Lord Scott dissented; he said that a reasonable decision maker paying due regard to the Prolife's Article 10 rights could not have concluded that a factually accurate and relevant PEB should be rejected as offensive to public feeling.

What the judgment illustrates, it seems to me, is the myth that free-speech is an end in itself that is worth protecting.

Free speech is an instrument, a conduit, used to persuade people to take a certain course of action. But the persistent myth is that it must be protected for the sake of its own production.

Thus, the issue on both sides of the Atlantic is what is included and excluded from the zone of free speech.

That is the reality.

In the Areopagitica, Milton says, "Now you understand of course that when I speak of toleration and free expression I don't mean Catholics. Them we extirpate".

The debate surrounding the issue of free speech will not arrive at a humanistic universal truth. All humanism can say is that those in power define what is included or excluded in the zone of free speech; that is if they are being intellectually honest (it’s a pity most of them here are either intellectually dishonest or lazy).

So where is the line to be drawn by those in power? It is drawn by their cultural sensitivities which change over time. For example, a society could be democratic at one point in time and then in another point in time slide into national socialism.

That is why Judaeo-Christians are called to be the salt of the earth.

Its preservative.

25 May 2010 at 11:56  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Good grief, I find myself in agreement with Mr Singh, almost.

For free speech to mean anything it must be universal. However the BBC (who I have been in dispute with for 4 years over Thought for the Day) has to be impartial and also to respond to what it sees as acceptable to public taste.

I oppose abortion on moral grounds (but would not ban it) and it seems clear to me that the increasing acceptance of abortion is due to the fact that few people have seen an aborted foetus. Similarly most of us would be less fond of eating meat is we were constantly reminded of the process of killing animals.

Many (not just feminists) consider that the issue of abortion is one for women alone as they bear the consequences of pregnancy. Whilst this is true and society cannot stop a woman if she is really intent on aborting her foetus, the wider moral issue should be considered by society as a whole.

It is a shame that the debate is polarised into Pro Choice (atheist) or Pro Life (religious) as most reasonable people would like abortion levels to be at an absolute minimum.

25 May 2010 at 12:37  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

In the USA my favourite pundit Ann Coulter once observed that Abortion was the only "Constitutional Right" that was not allowed to be demonstrated in public.

25 May 2010 at 17:14  
Anonymous Katy said...

Oh how I wish I'd logged-on yesterday and got involved then, because I suspect Dreadnaught has stopped reading.

Marie Stopes did not advocate a woman's right not be seen as a baby machine. She disinherited and disowned her own son for marrying a woman who had what Marie Stopes believed to be a terrible disablement, one which she believed would sully her impeccable genes. The terrible disablement? Short-sightedness.

The woman was not into 'women's rights'; she was a eugenicist. Look around you, and you'll find she had a problem with about 80% of the people you know!

A woman's right to choose comes at the point when she says 'not without a condom'.

25 May 2010 at 18:57  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I've just discovered a way for the NHS to save £30million per year! That's a lot of cancer treatment Mr. Cameron.

Let's stop paying for abortion. It's promoted by Marie Stopes because they make a killing (quite literally) on it. If people had to pay for it themselves, then maybe they would have to think more about what they were doing. People tend not to give much thought to something that's free.

Mr. Davis,

The problem with abortion on the whole is that different people have different answers to some very important questions.

How important is life?
Is it sacred? Is it a humanist value to be sought above all others? Is it utilitarian? Is it a commodity? To me it is sacred, and to you, it seems, it is the most important human value.

How far should one go to preserve life?
Should it be preserved at ALL costs? Are there conditions for its expenditure?

When does life begin?
At conception? At some arbitrary point during gestation? At viability? At birth? The question we should ask is, of course, if the child is not alive after conception, then in what state is he?

25 May 2010 at 19:18  
Blogger Lakester91 said...


'A woman's right to choose comes at the point when she says 'not without a condom'.'

This should be the motto of the pro-life movement. Except I'd edit it to say,

'A woman's right to choose comes at the point where she says yes or no to sex'

When we commit to certain actions, we must accept the consequences of such actions. One cannot jump off a cliff and claim the right to be unhurt. One cannot take heroin and claim the right not to overdose. One cannot drink alcohol and then complain when one gets drunk. Making someone suffer for your mistakes is incredibly immoral.

Abortion is never justified. If a procedure is carried out to save the life of the mother, which has the non-deliberate (even if inevitable) outcome of the death of the child (when the death of the mother would cause the death of the child anyway), then I am willing to listen to both sides of the argument.

25 May 2010 at 19:33  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


In reverse order...

My moral dilemma is that I can see no logical point at which life begins other than conception. Using reasons such as viability seems like dodging the issue.

I don’t think life should be preserved at all costs so turning off a life support machine for the brain dead or assisting suicide if there can be no doubt that that is the persons wish does not pose a moral dilemma to me much as I would hate to have to make that decision. Aborting a heavily malformed foetus or one with a serious inherited disease or if the woman was a victim of rape seem to me less bad than the alternative.

As to the question how important is life? Your assumption is correct, it is the most important value but to me not sacred.

25 May 2010 at 19:54  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Perhaps here we have common ground on the matter of when life begins Mr Davis. Good show!

I think there is a difference between stopping treatment which preserves life and using treatment to end life. If someone feels he needs or ought to die, then we need to treat it as a psychological problem. No one should ever feel that his life is not worth living. Not treating is simply letting life take its course. More importantly, it doesn't implicate or involve anyone other than the patient. Remember that assisted suicide requires someone to assist. The patient still ought to be persuaded to keep his life of course.

'Aborting a heavily malformed foetus or one with a serious inherited disease or if the woman was a victim of rape seem to me less bad than the alternative.'

Is having a disabled child worse than killing him? If you were disabled, would you rather be dead? Even (in the unlikely case) that you say yes, I doubt you would say the same were you in that situation. The problem is then how we define serious malformations and diseases. Cystic fibrosis? Down syndrome? Cleft lip/palate? The tests for some disorders can lead to the miscarriage of healthy children. How long before in-utero eugenics becomes post-birth eugenics? In America they have gone towards legalising 'partial-birth abortion' which is essentially the killing of the newborn.

Rape is a lot more difficult to deal with, especially considering the emotional issues surrounding it. Despite what one may think, carrying the child to term can give comfort to victims of rape; it allows something good to come from something awful. Abortion tends to exacerbate the feelings of guilt the victim feels. In the unlikely event that there is no emotional attachment to the child, the demand for adoptive children far outstrips the supply.

The issues surrounding abortion are very difficult to judge, especially for an atheist and especially in an increasingly 'Liberal' world where life's worth is utilitarian. Christians and conservative atheists can make a difference here. We can stand up to state-sponsored human culling.

25 May 2010 at 20:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Roman Catholic, and I have just been faced with the worst decision of my life - to terminate a pregnancy of a much wanted child that could not live. Without giving details all that I will say is that the the twelve week scan revealed anomalies incompatible with life, that my chances of carrying to term were minute, and that if by some chance I did, then the child could not live an hour outside the womb. It was also made abundantly clear to me by two consultants that by carrying on with the pregnancy I was risking a catastrophic bleed at a time when I would not be in hospital with surgical teams on hand. They said I could't risk that, that it wasn't fair to my family, and least of all to my beloved four year old son.

I took their advice. I had a medical termination. The nurses were very kind, they gave me time to hold the baby (it was a boy), encouraged me to name him, got the chaplain to talk to me about funeral arrangments. I have spent weeks grieving.

And I grieve far more when I think that so many children, who unlike mine could have lived, are destroyed. If the value of a baby has gone down to the convenience of a television advertisement, then God only knows what has happened to all of us.

25 May 2010 at 21:37  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Katy at 18.57 - I have a problem with 80% of people too.

Is eugenics truly a dirty word?


So many people with so many opinions.....give me a safe-guarding measure of hypocrisy any day!

26 May 2010 at 01:41  
Anonymous Adrian Peirson said...

There is a way we can affect change, those of us with websites and blogs can carry pro life videos on a highly visible page.

29 May 2010 at 02:20  

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