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Marie Stopes controversial abortion advice advert

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected over 1,000 complaints it received about the first UK TV ad for abortion services.

The 1,054 complaints from the public, GPs, counsellors and MPs objected to Marie Stopes' "Are you late?" campaign.

Critics said the commercial for advice about an unplanned pregnancy - broadcast in May and June - was misleading, offensive and harmful.

The ad drew the seventh highest number of complaints to the ASA of all time.

The advertising campaign shows several different women each of whom "is late".

The word "abortion" is not mentioned and the charity offers a number of other services related to pregnancy and sexual health.

Marie Stopes defended its campaign saying it did not mention abortion and did not promote the procedure, but aimed to draw attention to its advice line for any women concerned about a missed period or unplanned pregnancy.

Rejecting the complaints, the ASA said the issue of abortion was controversial and distasteful to some, and acknowledged that many complainants interpreted that ad as a promotion of the procedure.

But is said the commercial was for an advice service for women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and did not focus on any one service or mention abortion.

  • 04 Aug 2010