On the Agenda - First TV abortion ad sparks protest

In a nutshell The first British TV ad for unplanned pregnancy and abortion advisory services was aired on Channel 4 this week. The controversial ad, screened on Monday, is part of a new campaign by Marie Stopes International, UK provider of sexual health services outside of the NHS.

Abortion ads: sparks protests
Abortion ads: sparks protests

- What's the background?

The ground-breaking commercial was created after research showed that only 42 per cent of UK adults said they would know where to go for specialist advice, other than their GP if they or their partner were faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The survey also showed that three quarters of UK adults (76 per cent) agree that commercials about unplanned pregnancy advice services should be allowed on TV, within appropriate broadcasting times.

- Why was it controversial?

Campaigners who protested against the screening included The Christian Institute, The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and The ProLife Alliance.

- PR strategy

The PR is being headed by Hill & Knowlton. A press release was sent out under embargo to the media last Tuesday - a week before the ad was broadcast.

- Media coverage

National coverage included a front-page article in The Guardian and stories in The Times, Independent, Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, which all included quotes from protestors. The Mail ran the headline: 'First TV advert selling abortion: But pro-life groups demand a ban'.

215k abortions were performed in the UK in 2008

1.2k women came to England from Northern Ireland for abortions in 2008

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