Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign

Marie Stopes TV ad complaints rejected

In a media victory for pro-choice campaigners, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected public complaints against Marie Stopes’ landmark “Are you late?” television advert.

The advertising watchdog received more than a thousand complaints, plus over 3000 postcards from a protest campaign organised by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, about the country’s first ever abortion services commercial, which ran for just four weeks in May and June. 

The advertisement in question directed women facing possible pregnancy to Marie Stopes International’s 24-hour helpline.

Despite drawing the seventh highest number of complaints to its agency, the ASA acknowledged that the issue of abortion is controversial, but said the commercial did not advocate any particular choice or course of action over another and did not even mention abortion.

Speaking to the BBC, the ASA said, “We understood that post-conception decisions could be very difficult, but considered the ad dealt with the issue of possible pregnancy in an understated way and was not sensationalist.”

Marie Stopes said it received an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the ad, with the advice line taking significantly more calls from women and health professionals who expressed gratitude for the support.

Read the ASA’s adjudication on the the advert here.