Wednesday 6 July 2011

Advertising Standards Authority rule against anti-abortion group

Advertising Standards Authority rules against anti-abortion advice centre

Just as the Government is considering changing regulations on abortion counselling and diverting women to alternative, ‘independent’ abortion advice centres, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today upheld a complaint about an anti-abortion counselling centre. 

Education For Choice (EFC) made the complaint about an advert placed by the Albany Women’s Centre, an anti-abortion counselling organisation, on EFC objected that the ad was misleading, because it did not make clear that Albany Women's Centre was an anti-abortion group who would not offer impartial advice on abortions.

EFC made the complaint after their own enquiries found that women who attend this organisation for counselling about unwanted pregnancy may be given misinformation and subjected to biased views on abortion.

EFC Director, Lisa Hallgarten, said:

‘We are extremely pleased that the Advertising Standards Authority ruled against the advert. It is totally unacceptable that women seeking impartial support and evidence-based information to support them to make a difficult decision about pregnancy should be subjected to misinformation and bias. We are especially concerned about the effect of these services on young people’s ability to make decisions and access services quickly. 

We hope this ruling will draw attention to the fact that there are organisations on our high streets, which advertise pregnancy support and advice but which oppose contraception and abortion and whose intention is to obstruct or dissuade women from accessing these services. 

The Government is currently considering new regulations that will divert women seeking abortion away from the highly regulated abortion providers and towards ‘independent’ counselling organisations. We hope this timely ruling will encourage the Government to think carefully about who is providing these alternative services, what their motivation is for doing so, how transparent they are about what they really offer, and what quality of service women might expect from them.’

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