Troubled airwaves

  • January 24, 2012

So, people constantly ask in exasperation, “What’s the world coming to?”

In the U.K., what it’s coming to are television and radio advertisements to promote private, for-profit abortion services. This regrettable development is the result of a regulatory change that, critics say, means abortion will be advertised into family homes as casually as toothpaste and breakfast cereal after new rules kick in April 30.

And about the time the first ads air in Britain, does anyone believe lobbying won’t begin to bring similar change to Canada?

In the U.K., the rationale being offered for the new rules is that it’s unjust to prohibit advertising for a service that is legal. But opponents suspect the change has more to do with money.

Abortion has become a lucrative commercial enterprise, so it was probably only a matter of time before companies that profit from it turned to mass marketing to offer their service to larger audiences. In Britain, this change has been percolating for years and finally came after campaigns led by advertising executives and commercial broadcasters. These people have a financial stake in cultivating new sources of TV and radio advertising revenue, a daunting task in an era of exploding digital competition.

What now seems inevitable is that advertising by the well-funded abortion industry will be earmarked for prime-time programs popular among teens and young women. It’s bad enough that someone troubled by a pregnancy may be influenced by such ads, but it’s impossible to specifically target pregnant women and teens, or even females who are sexually active. That would be like trying to block teenage boys from prime-time beer commercials. So the ads will be viewed by females of all age and circumstance as marketers legitimize abortion.

As a result, young girls will learn where to terminate a pregnancy by the time they enter high school. And much as slick marketing tells teenage boys that beer is part of a normal adult lifestyle, so too will high school girls hear that abortion is a legitimate lifestyle choice.

Oh, the ads may not be so blunt. They’ll advertise what are being called “post-conception advisory services” or they’ll use other euphemisms. But private abortion clinics are in the business of making profit, so the “advisory services” they provide to emotional young women are unlikely to include recommendations to seek a second opinion from, say, a pro-life organization.

As one critic noted, the arrival of abortion advertising on TV says something very troubling — and quite sad — about the values of our consumer culture. We have become an acquire-and-dispose society that regards most everything as a commodity. Nothing seems to be exempt — even life itself.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.