Marie Stopes has defended a television advert on sexual health that provoked more than 1,000 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.
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The advert revolved around the slogan ‘Are you late?’, in reference to a woman missing her period, and directed people to Marie Stopes’s advice line. It sparked a raft of complaints from the public, GPs, counsellors and MPs.
Opponents of the advert said it encouraged abortion, trivialised the procedure to little more than a consumer product, failed to be sympathetic to religious sensitivities or fathers’ rights and implied that abortion was simply a choice that was made by women alone.
Other critics of the advert said it misled viewers by not mentioning the physical or mental health risks of abortion.
The Advertising Standards Authority received 1,054 complaints about the advert, which gained widespread media exposure prior to broadcast as the UK’s first television commercial for abortion services.
Marie Stopes defended its campaign, saying it had received an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the advert, taking significantly more calls to its advice line during broadcast.
The not for profit organisation said the advert did not mention or promote abortion and only sought to reassure women concerned about a missed period.