ASA inundated with complaints about TV abortion services ad

The UK’s first television advertisement for an abortion service provider has generated 375 complaints to the advertising watchdog in less than a week.

The ad for Marie Stopes International, a sexual healthcare services charity, launched on Monday (24 May) and offers pregnant women who are “not sure what to do” help.

Some complainants claim the ad is misleading because it fails to name the abortion services if offers. Other viewers have been offended by the spot.

In the ad, the narrator says: “If you are late for your period then you could be pregnant. If you are pregnant and not sure what to do then Marie Stopes International can help”.

A spokesman for the ASA says that the watchdog will now assess the “vast volume” of complaints received and see “what steps if any we take next”.

A proposed change to the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice code that would allow TV ads explicitly promoting abortion services, or “post-conception” advice, to air has been referred to Ofcom ahead of a final decision following thousands of responses.

Marie Stopes says it created the “ground breaking commercial” after independent research showed that only 42% of UK adults stated that they would know where to go for specialist advice.

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