"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Monday, 24 May 2010

Marie Stopes to advertise on T.V

Marie Stopes, a non-profit organisation offering sexual health counselling to women is today to screen an advertisement for its services on British T.V (Channel 4). Because the organisation is known for its unbiased and non-judgmental attitude toward abortion, predictably religious groups and the anti-abortion lobby are crying foul.
The advertisement itself does not mention abortion specifically, but asks the question “are you late” and offers the telephone number of the 24-hour helpline.
This to me seems a reasonable and innocuous advance in getting information to women, who may fear an unwanted pregnancy, in a timely manner. It will offer them pragmatic options and choices free from the guilt-laden rhetoric they may receive from family and friends and would definitely get from a religious organisation.
Some of the arguments coming out of the anti-abortion camp are bordering on ludicrous. In particular this one from Anthony Ozimic of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
"[Marie Stopes'] huge multi-national revenue means it can afford TV advertising, which is hugely expensive. This creates an unfair playing field, as pro-life groups simply cannot afford any such advertising". source
This isn’t about relative airtime. His organisation does not give unbiased advice to young women in trouble. They are not a “competing service”, they are an ideological lobby and whether they can afford to advertise on T.V or not is irrelevant. It is not as though there is any lack of “pro-life” propaganda and misinformation spewing out of the churches, creating moral dilemmas where none need exist.
Let’s make no mistake. The choice to abort is not a trivial one and the psychological impact on women who have abortions is real. But, we live in a society that recognises a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body and they have the right to information that will help them make that choice in as rational a way as possible.

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