The Abortion Ad You'd Never See On American TV


The much-discussed “abortion ad” airing tonight on British television is pretty subtle — but it’s still more explicit than anything you’d be likely to see on American TV.

“Abortion ad” deserves quotes because, although it’s been billed as such in the British press, the spot by sexual health clinic Marie Stopes International actually advertises a helpline, not abortion services per se. And as the clinic points out, far more people call its line than ever come in for an abortion. Still, the ad does depict women concerned about unplanned pregnancies, and it directs such women to a resource that may counsel them on abortion — which would be pretty shocking on American TV.

Planned Parenthood’s response to Focus on the Family’s Tim Tebow ad, for instance, was web-only. And while that ad supported the notion of “trusting women” to make reproductive decisions, it didn’t explicitly address women in the midst of those decisions. Actually talking directly to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, and pointing them toward counseling that will help them explore all their options, still feels pretty revolutionary. Also notable is the ad’s inclusion of a woman who already has several children. Young, childless women aren’t the only ones who seek abortion — rather, women in all life stages and of all backgrounds need access to the procedure, which is something more people might realize if we could actually talk openly about it.

Earlier: Britain’s First Televised Abortion Ad Angers Anti-Choicers

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