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Sunday, March 3
The Indiana Daily Student

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Abortion advertisement sparks controversy

LONDON--In 2008, there were 195,296 officially recorded abortions in the United Kingdom. Another statistic states that at least one third of British women have had an abortion at some point in their life.

Furthermore, abortions that take place before the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy in the UK are not only legal, but also free under the National Health Service.

Despite these figures, the recent decision to allow an abortion advertisement to air on British television next week has sparked quite the controversy.

Marie Stopes International, a non-governmental organization that offers a range of sexual and reproductive health services to both men and women across the United Kingdom, has reportedly been attempting to advertise on television for "years," and has recently received the go-ahead from the authorities to air their advert, featuring women whose period is late, wondering about their options.

Marie Stopes's Chief Executive Dana Hovig defended the ad, stating, "Last year alone we received 350,000 calls to our 24-hour helpline. Clearly there are hundreds of thousands of women who want and need sexual health information and advice...access to services."

While the decision to allow the advertisement has been applauded by several groups promoting women's health and sexual education, it has also angered anti-abortion groups who argue that the advertisement is "grotesque," accusing the charity of attempting to "sell abortion as if it were a consumer product."

Nevertheless, the Advertising Standards Authority remain firm in their decision to allow the advert to run. When asked about the controversy, a spokesman from the ASA reported, "If viewers have concerns about the content or scheduling of the ad, the ASA is able to consider complaints once the ad has been aired. However, we cannot act on objections that viewers might have about the service being advertised at all."

The advertisement is set to air on British television next Monday at 10:10 PM on Channel 4, and the campaign is set to run for one month.

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