Abortion ads on TV? You know it makes sense

A still image from an advertisement by sexual health services provider Marie Stopes International is seen in a photograph released in London May 20, 2010. An advert offering abortion advisory services will be screened on British TV for the first time next week, provoking opposition from anti-abortionists and religious groups. Sexual health services provider Marie Stopes International said its campaign, which uses the slogan Are you late? , aims to confront the taboo of abortion by offering non-judgmental advice on unplanned pregnancies. REUTERS/Marie Stopes International/handout (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH) NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

I spent Sunday last in the bowels of the BBC,  ‘helping’ them with a pilot TV programme which I think is to be called ‘Sunday Morning Live’ and is to replace ‘The Big Question’ hosted by Nicky Campbell (I’d no idea there was a programme called ‘The Big Question’ before Sunday, or that the insufferable Nicky hosted it).  Anyway, one of the topics they asked us to be ready to provide views on was the matter of abortion – specifically, should abortion ads be allowed on TV.
ANN ARBOR, MI - MAY 1: A protestor holds up an anti abortion sign outside the University of Michigan Stadium as people line up to get in to hear U.S. President Barack Obama's commencement address May 1, 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. President Obama was at the University of Michigan Stadium to deliver the 2010 commencement address to the graduating seniors. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)The answer is,  if you think abortion should be legal, then of course it should be OK to advertise it on TV. Why not?  Why would you think something should be made available to people and then refuse to allow ads telling them where and how to get it?  What follows, of course, is that ads for those opposed to abortion should equally be shown on TV. Why not? If being opposed to abortion is an acceptable position, why shouldn’t those holding it be allowed to air their views on TV?  What’s more, anti-abortionists should be allowed to show what abortion looks like, using posters or slides or whatever images they choose, providing they’re authentic.  No rational person should be opposed to looking at the consequences of an action, particularly if that action is a controversial one. Objections in the name of ‘bad taste’ are flimsy and  mix  good manners with good morality, which is never a good idea.
Finally, if you believe that the testimony of those most affected by an action should be part of the debate (think of the central role accorded to victims of child abuse),  then maybe Andrea Bocelli,  Liverpool central defender Jamie Carragher and Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow deserve to be heard.  The mothers of all three were advised by doctors to have their baby aborted.

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