The madness of outlawing TV ads for boob jobs – yet allowing them for abortions
Concern: Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the Government is powerless to prevent the screening of advertisements for abortion clinics
Yesterday, there were two announcements, both of which purported to protect women’s rights. The first was that private abortion clinics in Britain will be able to advertise on TV and radio.
The second was that medical experts are demanding that the advertising of cosmetic surgery be banned.
What does it say about our society when advertising the termination of a child’s life is acceptable TV viewing, while breast enhancements are not That abortion on demand is OK, but tummy tucks are not
While Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is said to be ‘very unhappy’ about the abortion decision — made by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) — and several MPs have been vocal in their criticism of it, the Government claims it is powerless to intervene.
Yet it has managed to set up an inquiry into plastic surgery.
The Government’s crackdown on the cosmetic surgery industry is an obvious reaction to the thousands of British women who had faulty breast implants provided by the French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), privately and on the NHS.
While it is understandable that victims of the PIP scandal — whose implants were made from silicone not suitable for use within human bodies — are beside themselves with worry, these implants are not thought to cause cancer or any other lethal disease. Simply put, they are not a matter of life and death. Abortion is.
Of course, there should be strict legislation covering cosmetic practices to protect vulnerable women. It is deplorable that clinics should target new mothers, offering ‘Mummy Makeovers’, which promise their pre-baby bodies back — with the help of liposuction, tummy tucks and breast lifts — or try to convince patients to rope in friends with two-for-one offers on breast enlargement operations.
Different scale: Whilst the concerns of women who have the faulty PIP breast implants (pictured) is understandable, plastic surgery is rarely a life-and-death issue
But how can we justify banning advertising all cosmetic procedures,
including more minor procedures such as lasers, Botox and fillers, which are widely used
Clinics should be properly regulated, but there should not be a blanket, knee-jerk ban. Many people — myself included — like to know what cosmetic procedures are available, even if we don’t avail ourselves of them. Adverts allow us to do that.
But how can it possibly be right that the Government makes this a priority, while allowing abortion to be advertised
Making a boob Clinics should be properly regulated, but there should not be a blanket, knee-jerk ban
Botched cosmetic surgery procedures can often be corrected — ‘trout pout’ lip injections subside after a few months, breast implants can be removed — but an abortion is utterly final. A woman who terminates a pregnancy can never get her baby back.
Surely the argument for information about and access to abortions and cosmetic surgery is underpinned by a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body.
Why do the authorities feel the need to shield women from cosmetic surgery ads — making it less likely they’ll have such surgery, thus reducing the possibility of it going wrong — yet not protect them from the consequences of a major procedure such as abortion
Precedent: A still from an advert for Marie Stopes International, screened in 2010
I can’t imagine for a moment that ads from the likes of abortion provider Marie Stopes will manage to squeeze information about counselling or the psychological effects some women suffer into their 30-second slot.
Defending its decision to allow abortion ads — until now, clinics could advertise their services only if they were not run for profit — the BCAP says there is no justification for preventing them as long as they are not ‘harmful, offensive or misleading’.
Millions of people in this country are anti-abortion. These viewers will inevitably find the ads deeply offensive.
Then there are many more who are not anti-abortion per se, but who believe terminations can have damaging, long-term effects on women’s wellbeing and who will be appalled they are being advertised on TV.
Indeed, the only people the ads fail to harm or offend are the Left, who have driven through this relentless quest for abortion on demand.
Only one abortion advertisement has been carried on TV to date, for Marie Stopes, in 2010.
Outrage: The Marie Stopes International adverts attracted thousands of complaints
More than 4,500 people complained — and that was after it was screened on Channel 4, which attracts mainly young, liberal viewers. Imagine the furore when the ads are carried on popular channels such as ITV and Sky.
The level of outrage is not indicative of a fierce anti-abortion consensus. Many people are not pro-life as such; we just feel deeply uncomfortable about the utter disregard for an unborn child that has led to Britain becoming the abortion capital of Europe, with 190,000 terminations a year.
It is not yet clear whether or not the ads will be screened after the 9pm watershed. Even if they are, many children and most teenagers — who are most vulnerable to the pernicious effects of TV advertising — are still awake then. How many will believe that getting an abortion is as easy as buying a new iPod
Nearly a quarter of abortions are performed on girls under the age of 20, and a third are carried out on women who have had at least one termination already.
In reaching their decision to allow the ads, BCAP claims it hopes to ‘strike the right balance between the freedom of post-conception advice services (ie abortion clinics) to advertise and the protection of audiences from advertising that may cause harm, offence or mislead’.
Information on abortion is already available at your doctor’s surgery, from numerous helplines and on the internet. An abortion clinic is as easy to find as a good restaurant. Why, then, do we need to plug this grisly trade on TV
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It is also discriminatory, as big, private abortion clinics such as the British Pregnancy Advice Surgery will be able to afford costly TV slots, as they are funded by the Government to the tune of 75 million a year — pro-life organisations have no such funds.
So not only are we forced to watch these controversial ads when they pop up in the breaks of our favourite programmes, but our taxes may be paying for them as well.
One important point should not be forgotten. Advertising abortions on TV will so normalise the procedure as to trivialise it. That’s just what the abortion lobby wants: to make ‘removing’ an unwanted baby no more difficult than dealing with an ingrown toenail.
When the controversial 1967 Abortion Act made abortion legal, so long as a woman secures the consent of two doctors, millions of concerned people were assured the law would be tightly regulated. We were guaranteed this was not abortion on demand, yet all the evidence suggests otherwise.
Advertising abortion on TV makes it plain this life-and-death procedure is as trivial as Sky Plus-ing our favourite shows — on demand, any time, with guaranteed repeats. What a sad indictment of our society.