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I’m not sure how I feel about the UK’s plans to let abortion ads be shown on TV, in attempt to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies:

Restrictions on the advertising of condoms on television could also be relaxed under a shake-up of the rules put forward in an effort to halt high rates of teenage pregnancy.

Adverts for pregnancy advisory services could be allowed in prime-time evening slots on the major channels and radio following consultation by advertising watchdogs.

But advertisers must stipulate if the service does not refer women directly for abortion under the new proposals.

One of Britain’s biggest independent pregnancy advisory service, whose clinicians perform abortions as well, said it would immediately consider running adverts.

I get why they’re doing it, but I guess I’m afraid that it may lead to young people having abortions as if they were a form of contraception.

I think that promoting the use of condoms is a good thing, and should be a given anyway, but I’m definitely still undecided about abortion clinics airing promotional ads.

What say you?


  • Girlish
    March 26
    7:12 pm

    I think that anyone who worries that abortion will be used as a form of contraception has never had one. It’s not an experience anyone wants to repeat.


  • It’s not an experience anyone wants to repeat.

    Hmmm, the problem is though, there are quite a few teens out there, who have had more than one abortion.


  • I’ve known people who use abortions as a form of contraception. The same as I’ve met people who use pregnancies as a form of increasing earning through welfare. There’s all kinds of people out there.

    I don’t agree with promotions for abortions–it’s a major medical decision and shouldn’t be advertised as if it were something to pick up at the store–but I can see having ads for clinics that emphasize they provide options and education for teenagers.


  • MB (lLeah)
    March 26
    7:44 pm

    I’m pretty sure nothing that that could ever happen on American TV. Maybe on cable.

    I agree with Dee, if they are promoting clinics that offer all kinds of information about birth control and which also just happens to offer abortions, then I’d see the point.

    Although I’m all for right to choose, I don’t believe that abortion should be a birth control method on the same level as using a condom. It should be a last and desperate resort if at all. Besides medical complications that could come up, it could damage the woman for further ability to have children, as well as cause emotional trauma that might not come up until after an abortion and it’s too late.

    Why don’t they really push condom commercials? At least with condoms you also reduce the passing on of disease as well as it being a birth control method.

    I really wonder what this thing is with young people today having babies so easily and not really thinking about their futures. My best friend in high school had to have an abortion, which I helped her pay for and had to drive her to so no one would know. She felt very guilty because of her Catholic upbringing but she had dreams of being a Dr. and having a baby was going to ruin all of that. I know she went through a lot about that.

    Kids today just don’t seem to understand the gravity of bringing a child into the world.

    Something’s not working right in the education of young people to begin with.


  • Considering I can’t remember when i last saw a condom commercial in this neck of the woods in the USA, I’d love to see some graphic ‘use condom’ ads. Like the 16yr old girl who has a screaming baby to deal with and her parents hassling her to get her homework done, or showing her with a baby in one arm and her reportcard with grades going from a/b down to c/d. A young man who is forced to give up his sports/his computer games/devices and go get a job at a supermarket just to buy diapers for the baby. Show a scene from a teen giving birth… and this all could have been prevented by using a condom.

    But I’ll never see it as the religious right will be all over it as it’s not touting abstinence, which we ALL know works, right?


  • Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose, or something like that. At least the danger of backstreet abortions is largely in the past.
    If a girl has an abortion as a form of contraception and then actually goes in for another one, she’s an idiot.
    Anyone who considers abortion as a form of contraception is definitely out of whack.


  • Personally I think abortions need to stop being stigmatized, and prevention of unwanted pregnancy needs to be frickin’ celebrated.

    There’re way too many unwanted children in the world, and way too many people who don’t know how to cherish the children they have. Prevent abuse and neglect in children by making sure that every child is a WANTED child. It’ll make the world better for us all.

    (btw, I’m also pro-adoption – and that includes more than the cute babies. It also means troubled 7 year olds and developmentally disabled 14 year olds too. Let’s take care of those kids before we try and force unwilling and unprepared women into having children.)


  • veinglory
    March 26
    8:17 pm

    It isn’t “promotion” for abortion, the cite says they can tell people where counselling and termination is offered. Just as adverts for lawyers (in the UK) aren’t promotions for suing people.


  • West
    March 26
    8:29 pm

    I agree with Venus.

    I personally have no problem with abortions being advertised, though I do agree with the others who have commented on the lack of condom adverts. There needs to be more. Along with fact-based sex ed for all teens.

    But as for the concern that it might lead to teens using them as a form of contraception? It already happens, in both teens and adults (and it’s the only thing about abortion that bothers me- it should be a last resort, not a first-line option).


  • I worked for my ob/gyn for a long time. He performed abortions. Though I didn’t agree (and still don’t, I had one, thirty years ago and am still torn when I think of it) he would do it once. If they came back for a second, he refused them.

    That said, his partner had no self-guidelines on how many he would do. In this state, paperwork at the time had to be filed every week; how many were performed, age of patient, number of abortions. No identifying info was sent. I filled out forms every week where the 14-17 year old was on their third or fourth abortion.

    Used for birth control? You betcha! So no, I would never want to see specific commercials for that on TV. But I see planned parenthood commercials and that’s a service they offer…

    just sayin’…


  • There was, long ago and in a galaxy long gone to dust, a government campaign called Paternidad Responsable (Responsible Paternity). It was all about educating people about pregnancy as a consequence to unprotected sex–and therefore, there was much emphasis on different methods of birth control (from condoms to abstinence).

    Prevention (educate parents so they can educate their children, plus giving out enough information to teens whose parents don’t/won’t give a damn) trumps these sort of ‘remedies’ every single time, IMO.


  • Fae
    March 26
    10:03 pm

    I think we need to get condoms ads on the tv here in the US regularly during the timeslots kids will most likely be watching first. The only time I see condom ads here in Washington DC is maybe once or twice very very late (2 am insomnia attacks) while watching reruns on, like, Gameshow network or something. I watch American Idol every week and never see a single one.

    I am completely comfortable with abortion, would get one myself in a heartbeat if my tubal ever failed, but I’d rather my country (and I realize you’re talking about Britain, Karen) start with birth control commercials first. If that doesn’t make a significant dent in the numbers, then go ahead and advert abortion options, I don’t mind.


  • In all honesty… I would rather see “pro” abortion ads on TV than the anti-abortion, anti-birth control, abstinence-only BS we see over here. While there are people who use abortion like a form of birth control, they aren’t the majority by any stretch of the imagination. I’d rather see abortion shown as a valid option rather than the shame/blame criticism you see in the States.


  • Marianne McA
    March 26
    11:59 pm

    I get why they’re doing it, but I guess I’m afraid that it may lead to young people having abortions as if they were a form of contraception.

    I find it hard to imagine that. Say there’s a teenager Jane, who is having/going to have sex – I can imagine her seeing an advert for Marie Stopes (from their website):

    Our services include: contraception, unplanned pregnancy counselling, abortion information and advice, help for women needing abortions, abortion pill and other abortion treatment options, vasectomy information and vasectomy procedure, female sterilisation, health screening for men and women, and company health screening.

    and thinking – ‘I’ll go there to get free condoms’, or ‘I’ll go there to get a pregnancy test’ – but I find it harder to imagine her thinking ‘Well, now that I know where I can go to to get an abortion, I don’t need to worry about contraception’.

    Possibly there are a few people that idiotic, but I’d have thought that letting teenagers know where they can go for information on contraception and sexual health would in general reduce teenage pregnancy.


  • Las
    March 27
    1:30 am

    I find the idea of an ad that’s specific for abortion odd and a bit creepy, but that doesn’t sound like what’s happening in Britain. I imagine it’d be just like Marianne described–just one of the services offered.

    I don’t think that it would cause teens to use abortion as contraception–people have unprotected sex because they’re careless and/or dumb, not because they know they can get an abortion–but if it does, well, I just don’t care all that much. I mean, it pisses me off because I hate stupid and irresponsible people, but if someone is stupid enough to have multiple unplanned pregnancies when she really can’t afford it/is in a shitty relationship/knows she doesn’t want children, then I really don’t want to see her trying to raise a child. There’s such a thing as a lesser of evils, and in many, if not most, cases, abortion qualifies as such.


  • Lorraine
    March 27
    2:37 am

    I’m not sure how I feel about the UK’s plans to let abortion ads be shown on TV, in attempt to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies:

    Is that their reason, to reduce teen pregnancy? I don’t think that’s going to work. If they want to reduce teen pregnancy then they should advertise the various available birth control devices. As a society, let’s get our collective heads out of the sand, acknowledge the fact that most teens have pre-marital sex and help them prevent unwanted pregnancy. Make the Pill, diaphragms and condoms easily available.

    I’m a strong and vocal supporter of abortion, but I don’t know that I want to see it advertised on TV, just like I don’t care to see ads re: lawyers, Viagra or Depends.

    I’ve never had an abortion but many of my friends and family members have. It’s a life altering decision that is never easy to make. It haunts each of them. Advertising abortion clinics almost diminishes the seriousness of the decision, turning it into a consumer driven purchase.


  • Miki
    March 27
    3:49 am

    My aunt was one of the most free-spirited people I knew. Had her daughter on birth control at the age of 13 because she herself had been a mother at 14 1/2 and wanted her daughter to have other choices at that age.

    But she’d done a stint as a aide of some sort at a birth control clinic when I was an early teen and her stories her stuck with me.

    She told me about girls of 12 and 13 coming in for their 3rd or 4th (or higher) abortion because welfare paid for abortions, but not birth control.

    She also told lurid stories about little hands and feet floating in pans of blood that she had to dispose of. Abortion is a medical procedure that has very real consequences. (And I’m not trying to imply that any one here thinks differently – it’s just a topic I feel strongly about).

    I know abortion has a place in our society, but I’d prefer it be a well-thought-out medical choice, not a choice made because a commercial has stuck in someone’s head!

    I’m with the posters who’ve said they’d really prefer to see realistic ads for birth control and condom use. Let the doctors recommend the medical procedures when they’re necessary.


  • willaful
    March 27
    5:25 am

    “Let the doctors recommend the medical procedures when they’re necessary.”

    That doesn’t make much sense to me. Abortion may be recommended for medical reasons — to save the life of the mother, for example — but it’s not primarily a medical decision. A doctor can’t make that kind of decision for you.


  • It seems to me that the whole point of allowing these ads in the first place is not to promote abortion, but to make information available in a bid to lower the teen pregnancy/abortion/STD rates.

    The Dutch run similar ads in the media – and they have the lowest incidence of teen pregnancy/abortion in the developed world. I couldn’t find the research paper I read last year, but here is a link to a wiki page with similar information.


    Here is an example of a billboard the Dutch use – I took a picture of it in Rotterdam Central train station last year and posted it on my blog.


    I don’t know if there is a direct corelation between the Dutch ads and the lower teen pregnancy/abortion rates, but I think it’s worth trying in the UK.


  • I don’t have a problem with showing the adverts on TV. Abortion happens. It’s not pleasant or pretty but its life and I believe its better people know safe places to go rather than risking their health. Teenagers are going to have sex and do dumb things regardless of what adverts are shown on TV. Knowledge is everything and people need know the safe options.


  • lil
    March 27
    2:35 pm

    I think anyone who uses abortion as birth control is not a good candidate for parenthood.


  • Las said:

    if someone is stupid enough to have multiple unplanned pregnancies when she really can’t afford it/is in a shitty relationship/knows she doesn’t want children, then I really don’t want to see her trying to raise a child.

    Another brilliant point. The very people we worry about using abortion as birth control are likely the folks we don’t want informing the next generation anyway.


  • SarahT
    March 28
    4:43 pm

    I don’t have a problem with abortion ads on TV, as long as they are broadcast before/after ads for preventative measures and info on adoption.

    Unfortunately, I get the impression that not a lot of time or effort is given to non-religious advice on adoption. It’s as if abortion or keeping the baby are seen as the only options these days.


  • ReplyReply

  • I had friends already thinking of abortion as a form of contraception while others thought of their pills and morning after more. They were given the exact same amount of information. It could encourage earlier sexual activity, if it seen as something that is safe and even if its not, there will always be a way of dealing with it.

    Even a kid knows over here in the UK that all they need to do is get themselves to the GP and they will sort it all out. It’s unnecessary to advertise on TV as well.


  • Jen
    April 10
    12:28 am

    It’d be a useful ad over here in the US. I don’t imagine the ads will be like Crazy Larry’s Uterine Blowout offering insane deals and 2 for 1 specials. It’s going to be an ad for women’s health services like Planned Parenthood–where abortion is one of many services. The true women’s health clinics (as opposed to the religiously-funded ones rife with misinformation where their agendas are more important than a patient’s actual health) need to identify themselves as resources.

    More useful, though, is to promote the full spectrum of prevention and contraception–where to get it, how to get it, and why you need it. Which will no more encourage more teens to have sex (like they need any encouragement anyway) than flu shots encourage people to lick doorknobs.

    And I may be odd duck here, but I’m not worried about people who use abortion as contraception or have multiple abortions. First and foremost–it’s none of my business why another woman seeks an abortion, and it’s none of my business how many she’s had before or why. As long as her health isn’t at serious risk, and as long as she made her own decisions about it, it’s between her and her doctor.


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