Service not available in Northern Ireland

Channel  4’s decision not to broadcast the Marie Stopes ‘Are you late?’ TV advert in Northern Ireland raises questions about what information it is criminal to distribute here.  The Chief Executive of Marie Stopes International told the Guardian that ‘the advertising of abortion facilities, their contact numbers or addresses is against the law in Northern Ireland.’

The fact that the advert in question does not contain the word ‘abortion’, and is for an organisation that provides a wide range of sexual health services, apparently makes no difference.  About 3,000 women every year from Ireland, North and South, find their way to Marie Stopes clinics for abortions anyway, and the idea that preventing a TV ad can stop the spread of information seems ridiculously quaint.

However, we are by no means all online, and the attitudes of GPs are notoriously patchy.  Access to abortion is already determined by wealth here; access to information about it shouldn’t be equally dependent on an individual’s resources.  At least this area of our hazy abortion law seems easy to test.

What constitutes ‘advertising’?  Are we allowed to whisper ‘Google it’?  Is a billboard out of the question?  Channel 4 might not be willing to risk it, but I’m sure somebody is.

, , , , ,

  • Grainnemhaol

    Let’s hope someone does risk it. Abortion law in God’s own statelet is a cruel chaos, and women who make the choice to have an abortion are being left unsupported. Politicians prefer to believe there are no votes in clarifying, much less reforming, the law; yet 40 women from here manage to organise and finance abortions across the water each week. Then they come home and are silenced, unable to tell a hostile and hypocritical society what they have been through.

  • apollo293867

    WE SHOULD BE SHOUTING GOOGLE IT.

    IT MAKES ME RAGE THAT 3000 WOMEN FROM NI HAVE TO GO TO ENGLAND TO TERMINATE PREGNANCIES,

    YET AGAIN ITS THE POOR THAT HAVE TO FACE THE DRACONIAN DISCRIMINATION OF GOVERNMENT BY THEOLOGY.

  • Procrasnow

    you have to understand that we are not as mature in Northern Ireland as they are in the rest of Britain.

    Or so it seems

  • Abortion is already advertised here – pick up just about any woman’s magazine in a newsagent and flip to the back pages. They almost always have ads explicitly offering abortion services from Marie Stopes/BPAS. I think they used to attempt to censor these in the Republic back in the 80s – and women still found ways of obtaining abortions.

    I’m not especially annoyed that this particular ad won’t be shown here – it seems to be fairly lightweight and will undoubtedly be posted online anyway – it’s more the consistent infantilisation of women here that I find irritating.

    Considering that the leading anti-choice group here not only opposes abortion in all circumstances, they also oppose all forms of contraception as well as sex education (apart from abstinence-only, of course!) because they fundamentally DO NOT TRUST women to be competent enough to make any decisions concerning their reproductive health, the refusal to screen the ad, I believe, reinforces this message – i.e. that women can’t be given certain information because what might we do with it?

  • socaire

    The killing of a human being is still murder, no matter what way you dress it up.

  • ForkHandles

    “to tell a hostile and hypocritical society what they have been through.”

    what they have been through??? try telling that to the person they just killed.

  • socaire

    Do you know that thing that men have between their legs? That’s what makes you pregnant. That’s what ruins your dress size. That’s what makes your husband go mad. That’s what spoils your chance of promotion. If you’re so stupid, then live with it!

  • socaire

    The ultimate in child abuse. Hypocrite!

  • lamhdearg

    i am a man. i dont think it is right to kill children.

  • socaire

    Every time the Omagh bombing is brought up we are reminded of the murders of 29 people …………and 2 unborn twins. Sure they weren’t ‘people’, they were unborn, they were an inconvenience to be slunk over to the mainland (where they are mature) and murdered

  • lamhdearg

    from conception a life.

  • socaire

    All the ‘MS.’ seem to have melted away.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Here we go — already this thread has degenerated into abortion-related hysterics.

    The question posed is whether NI women should have access to information, thereby allowing them to make an informed choice. Like it or not 40 NI women travel to Britain every week for a termination — your rantings aren’t going tp prevent that. If you don’t approve of abortion, don’t have one, but don’t impose your rigid codes on every woman in Ireland.

  • socaire

    Then don’t impose your hypocrisy on the rest of us.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    What’s hypocritical about offering women a choice?

  • socaire

    Say, for example, that the Isle of Man legalised paedophilia. Your argument is that we should concentrate on whether it is right to stop this being advertised or whether paedophilia is, in itself, wrong. Geta grip.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    The difference of course being that paedophilia isn’t legal in any jurisdiction on the globe, (though there has certainly been an overly tolerant attitude taken by the Vatican who ironically are amongst the strongest opponents of abortion not to mention contraception).

    Abortion under certain circumstances is however legal in many countries, including Britain and much of mainland Europe — your own personal views are therefore irrelevant.

    Although information is available online, it should equally be available to Irish women in whatever other form necessary to enable them to make an informed choice. Why should being an Irish resident prevent freedom of information?

  • socaire

    I don’t have the freedom of choice to vacuum a living creature to death. Why should anyone else? Should bomb making recipes be available on the net?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Again we’re back to your uncomfortable problem of legality in nearby democracies. Abortion has been legal in Britain for decades — not everyone is happy with that fact, but there is no great demand to have it outlawed.

    Any woman fortunate (or otherwise) enough to live in Ireland should be denied the right to avail or even be advised on a procedure perfectly legal in a neighbouring country because?

  • socaire

    Because it is murder. OK?

  • socaire

    At 28 weeks it is ‘legal’. At 28 weeks and 1 minute it is murder. I rest my case.

  • southdown

    This reminds of a time many years ago when this debate was part of a queen’s uni motion voted on by all students. The anti- choice brigade sadly popped photos of abortions under doors etc. and aggressively picketed people.

    It didn’t win any converts.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Socaire: ‘Because it is murder. OK?’

    In your opinion certainly. Others take a different view of exactly when life begins, and if your argument is a theological one, you’ll find scant support for your viewpoint in either the bible or koran.

    Thankfully in many countries women are given a choice over whether to terminate a pregnancy within the law. That situation is unlikely to pertain in Ireland, a country where only very recently (and by a narrow margin) divorce was finally legalised. That does not mean however, that Irish women should be denied the right to even know about their options in a neighbouring island.

    Assuming you are female, I respect your decision not to have an abortion, presumably under any circumstances. I do not however respect your attitude that every woman should be denied the right to choose, and the right to make an informed choice.

    We will have to agree to differ on the subject, but we are basically debating intolerance versus informed, personal choice.

  • outsidegawkingin

    The article argues that the blcking of this advert is unlikely to stop the spread of the “pro-choice message” in any way.

    Well if that is true then what exactly are the benefits of the campaign in the first place. I presume the organisation assumed that by pblishing their advert they would have promoted awareness and generate buisness. Yet you argue that failing to show it will make little difference.

    So advertising doesnt work?

  • outsidegawkingin

    The article argues that the blocking of this advert is unlikely to stop the spread of the “pro-choice message” in any way.

    Well if that is true then what exactly are the benefits of the campaign in the first place. I presume the organisation assumed that by pblishing their advert they would have promoted awareness and generate buisness. Yet you argue that failing to show it will make little difference.

    So advertising doesnt work?

  • outsidegawkingin

    The arguement being that a child can survive outside the womb before 28 weeks, but can after making this the turning point.
    A baby of a few months can not survive without the mother feeding it. If we were to apply the arguement used we would be entitled to kill all babies who can not feed themselves because they are not yet able to survive alone.

  • socaire

    There’s not much point in arguing over intolerance or over misinformation or whatever when a human life is in the balance. Some people think it is ok to zap a potential human and some think it is wrong. Never the twain shall meet?

  • Mick Fealty

    Socaire, I appreciate this is an emotional topic, but make your point and then back off with the trolling/monstering of your opponents.

  • socaire

    Eh?

  • C

    There are women in the world who would do anything for a child. To know that there is such a demand for terminations is truely heartbreaking.

    I’m glad the practice is illegal here. I know of girls in Britain who have had as many as four abortions before the age of 20. Its sad to see human life shown such disregard.

    Has anyone here ever seen a baby scan at 28 weeks? How could you even think about it?

  • C

    There are women in the world who would do anything for a child. To know that there is such a demand for terminations is truely heartbreaking.

    I’m glad the practice is illegal here. I know of girls in Britain who have had as many as four abortions before the age of 20. Its sad to see human life shown such disregard.

    Has anyone here ever seen a baby scan at 28 weeks? How could you even think about it?

  • joeCanuck

    The majority of the posts on this thread are from Socaire, a deluded sad person who thinks that by being offensive and obnoxious he can somehow persuade women in a very difficult position that he is an expert in the area of when a human being comes into existence and that they are sluts who deserve what they got. His graphic descriptions bear no resemblance to what happens in the vast majority of abortions. Presumably he is a man and believes that women are intellectually inferior to his omniscient self.
    Pathetic.

  • Abortion is still such an emotive subject on both sides of the border (and further afield, obviously). But to object to people being able to make their own choices (since they alone have to deal with the consequences) is to hark back to the horrendous days of the sneering patriarchal disasters whose legacy we are now too familiar with.
    But even if you strongly hold to the pro-life arguments, surely suppressing information could be turned on its head against you since others might decide to not let you forward your opinions either. Stifling debate is a dangerous tactic that can be very much double-edged. If you believe in your ideals then you should be prepared to have them challenged and to win out.
    Blocking ads nowadays is pretty futile. I think access to information on any topic, pretty much in any place, these days, is directly related to your ability and capacity to search the internet. Given that the target audience for this ad are presumably in their 30s and younger, the vast majority would be interent-savvy or know someone who is – I’d guess TV ads are the last place they’d expect to get information (being more used to ads where a lot of money is spent trying to subject them to psychological pressure to buy stuff they don’t need or can’t afford etcetc). So bans like this are absolute nonsense and I’d guess that Marie Stopes will get the equivalent publicity (probably more) if this story is picked up in the BelTel, Irish News etc which renders the whole concept of blocking the advert even more Canute-like.

  • Well put John Joe i was going to say something like

    ‘You say Murder i say Tomato’ which might be a little too graphic so i decided not to.
    No wait 🙂

    In all seriousness CHOICE is the key to this issue

  • Red Kangaroo

    Does that include 30 years of the Gerry & Martin show?

  • Red Kangaroo

    Remember Monty Python.. “every sperm is sacred” I guess that;s why most priest swallow

  • Reader

    lamhdearg: from conception a life.
    Only two thirds of the time. Most of the rest are aborted by nature/God, and typically are not noticed.
    Since purgatory has been abolished, the miscarried embryos presumably have a much higher chance of going to heaven than those who make it as far as being born (like me, for instance)

  • Ní Dhuibhir

    Yeah, that’s interesting. I think women who are currently seeking abortions in the rest of the UK are usually able to find out information about it anyway. In that case, the advert is more about de-stigmatizing the process of considering reproductive options that is a normal part of life for lots of women. If it was shown here, the effect would be a bit different, and the ad would have more of a directly informative effect, both because the general public here knows less about abortion, and because women who travel to Great Britain can’t have NHS abortions once they get there, so private providers like Marie Stopes are exactly what they’re looking for.

  • apollo293867

    I AM A MAN

  • Jean Meslier

    Abortion is an emotive subject. Like many others I have read up on matters relating to it , including how the various cells develope and progress. There are many outbursts opinionated on this matter.

    I have just two.

    1. In matters relating to all aspects of the female anatomy, then the opinion of the females concerned should be paramount.

    2. In principle, I say no to.

  • Red Kangaroo

    Who killed them??

  • Argosjohn

    Ni Dhuibhir: Are you related to Ella O’Dwyer, convicted on the Brighton bombing. Maraget Thatcher, fervently pro abortion, was in the hotel the night of the bomb. I always thought PIRA shudda bombed the abortion clinics, just to take a rise out of the multinationals like Marie Stopes.
    The beginning of Marie Stopes was with some interesting partners, including Phil Harvey, sex tpoy maker and multi billionaire. Non Proft my royal proletarian arse.

  • lamhdearg

    We all die in the end(nature), But some are murdered(by mankind). Again this is my (a mans) view.

  • Argosjohn

    I went to Marie Stopes’ site to check their financials. Cannot find them. Is that my poor Internet skills or are they hiding them? Off shore accounts, anyone?

  • lamhdearg

    1. In matters relating to all aspects of the female anatomy, then the opinion of the females concerned should be paramount. Paramount ok but at what point would You suspend the Females opinion, at birth at six months at eight months?.

  • Jean Meslier

    Should have said
    I say no to censorship

  • BOM

    Any talk about abortion makes me so sad. The issue is not – should abortions be legal in Ireland but more why people feel the need to have abortions?? It is the prejudice as a result of being an unmarried mother that is the issue. I can say this from experience but I must also say that it was much much harder to be the girl pregnant than to have an abortion and have noone know the situation I was in. It was a struggle for years but now I have my beautifu child who everyone loves – if I had had an abortion she wouldnt be here…

    The question in relation to the advert is – If people know where to go to have an abortion – fine let them have it – there is no need to advertise regardless of whether it is illegal in the country of advertising or not.

  • Jean Meslier

    lamhdearg

    I saw a US statistic a number of years ago in a scientific journal ( or was it Playboy?).
    Anyroad it claimed that American males masterbate an average of 3 times per week. (That includes clergy,- All cllergy).

    Any mathematicans, like RPB etc , can do the sums on this , but it amounts to a heck of an amount of cells over a month, year, lifetime being ejected (aborted) by the male population. And guess what:- nobody looses any sleep over it.
    In fact theres probably a survey somewhere which will state that you actually sleep more soundly after ejaculating those millions of little cells.

  • Munsterview

    On issues concerning abortion there are few detached views; indeed from a Christian viewpoint there cannot be a detached view. Given the passions raised by the subject some of the other issues of primary importance that should be quite separate tend to get lost in the debate and overlooked.

    1 ) The issue of Church and State separation : a modern representative democracy must in so far a possible, service the needs of all it’s citizens. Medical services are a vital part individual Western lives from cradle to grave. A significant section of the female population of child bearing age opt for abortion and in doing so should have the best medical care that the state can provide.

    2 ) Those who oppose abortion on whatever grounds have a right to campaign and protest against the practice, they have a right to try and have their point of view prevail just as any other group mobilized on any other issue. Those who advocate abortion have exactly the same rights, while some of the responses may be motivated by religious beliefs, these pro and anti stands and the freedom to advocate such views are basic civil right issues and should not be curtailed in any way because of the pressures of either party.

    3 ) A politician with strong Christian beliefs, once elected, especially in the type of English ‘first past the post system’ where in terms of actual votes they may represent less than a third of the votes cast and 10% of the population of their constituency as a whole, has a duty as a Member Of Parliament to represent not only their own narrow support base, but in so far as possible their constituency as a whole. Likewise any National assembly must enact laws not only for the Nation as a whole but also for the sum of it’s parts.

    4 ) In protecting and catering for a minority view, the majority may find itself sometimes in a situation that it is not in agreement with, too bad, there is a name for that sort of thing, it is called democracy. It is one of the prices to be paid for it, in it’s practical application as a philosophical concept.

    5 ) Abortion may be the subject under discussion in this post but there are other equally contentious issues here, Euthanasia and Female Circumcision to name but two.

    6 ) In regard to Euthanasia doctors as care givers are navigating their way through this grey area with dying patients in their care hourly,daily and weekly. In the vast majority of cases it is a decision for the immediate family and the medical carers; with modern medicine where a person can be held ‘alive’ far longer that their natural point of death, very often it is family and doctors combined that reach a decision as to when a life support system is turned off and when the person on life support actually dies. Doctors are in the main, trusted to make such decisions and their advice is followed.

    7 ) In regard to Female Circumcision; with ever larger Moslem populations in the West and a significant section of this minority culture having a practice of female circumcision that Western Culture as a whole regards as female genital mutilation with no apparent physical benefit. To the contrary the practice can and do have serious traumatizing effects and later physical problems for women subjected to this practice. How should Western Medicine react to a request to facilitate such a practice?

    There are many complex issues thrown up by these and other subjects that need to be rationally discussed and decided within the requirements of a modern representative democracy with primacy given to medical care aspects.

    If I have learned anything in my adult life about abortion; I have learned that for women who avail of it, ( and I have met more than a few, some female friends included) few do so lightly and few afterwards can then just forget the experience and put it behind them, even when successful in life, in a secure relationship and with happy children.

    On a personal perspective; when working part time, voluntarily with the Simon Community in a large Urban Area in the early seventies, one of our soup run drops was to a Charlie Mason type of character and ‘his girls’. All four of these young women were wrecked from heroin and living in the cellar of a house ruin, yet even at that level he was pimping them to other street derelicts and outcasts for one and six a time.

    It was an eye opener back then, aside from Simon no body cared. The situation is not any different now.! Over one hundred young people legally classed as children, most of them female are missing from Southern Health Care Homes. Vulnerable children on the street are invariably involved in child prostitution

    I have not heard Our President or Taoiseach address the issue and as for our Minister for Health getting off her well proportioned and ample backside to do something meaningful about the issue, she has been as big a waste on space in tis area as she has in all other areas. Such public debate as there have been on this issue have been more to do with embarrassing the government than real concern.

    When I will see the Anti-Abortion groups continuing their same degree of concern for vulnerable infants, deprived children and children missing from care homes etc I will take them seriously.

  • argosjohn

    Gerry Castro. What do you mean by paedophilia (I could ask you why you are rapping on about that on this thread but it is probably to do with your Catholic phobia.

    Having sex with children is legal in, amongst others, the following countries: Netherlands, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Malta, Panama where the age of consent is 12; Burkina Faso, Korea, Nigeria, Spain, Syria where it is 13.
    Before you pack your bags to go there, there are caveats so if you go yhrtr , you might end up in jail.
    Ms Ni Dhuibhir: apologies for thinking you might be Ella O’Dwyer. She would never refer to “the rest of the UK” (though she is in the Adams tank and she was involved in trying to kill the abortion on demand campaigner, Maggie Thatcher.

    Anyone find any info on where the Stopes Company send their profits. Or do they just balance the books every year?

  • lamhdearg

    conception is when sperm and egg create a child. A CHILD. This mans view.

  • pinni

    The implements which are used in aborting unborn children look like tools from a gulag torture chamber. Where are all those people who harp on about alleged abuse of human rights in Guantanamo or where ever when you need them? Do they not care about the slaughter of the innocents which takes place every day in our so-called civilised society?

    Of course, abortion has been camouflaged by the use of many horror-hiding euphemisms which cover up the methods and motives of this most selfish of deeds.

    It always amazes me how many Slugger readers and posters have no qualms concerning such barbarity. The bloody fruits of a liberal society, I suppose.

  • socaire

    Well, Mick, you warn me for speaking the truth and you ignore Red Kangaroo three times. Nuff said.

  • socaire

    Methinks you presume too much! Sad!

  • Reader

    pinni: The implements which are used in aborting unborn children look like tools from a gulag torture chamber.
    Wow – there goes the kitchen sink! What do you think of the implements used for heart bypass operations; and does that have any implications for whether you think that heart bypass operations should be performed?

  • pinni

    Good point, Reader, although the point is that one set is used to save lives while the other is used to destroy innocent life. Maybe you should watch The Silent Scream

  • Jean Meslier

    You have your view. I beleve a child is a CHILD when it takes its first breath of air and separates from the mother.
    But going back to the story.
    Why censor the advert?

  • insanityvssupersanity

    i have had an abortion. i am not ashamed, nor do i regret it. it was a courageous decision and the right decision. i have 3 children, 2 with autism, i am a single parent. the father of my last pregnancy was an alcoholic, i found this out a week before i found out i was pregnant, we had used contraception to prevent an an wanted pregnancy but contraception doesnt always do what it should. the relationship was terminated, then the pregnancy. In reply to earlier comments… dont whine about childless women wanting children in NI, we have thousands forgotten about in our care system! where my aborted “child” potentially may have ended up considering i would not have had the time required to care for it, being a lifetime. the 3 living & breathing children i have consume every minute of my day and if anything, require more love&assistance than it is possible for me to supply on a daily basis. most abortions, believe it or not, are not selfish decisions, they are for the benefit of that being. any woman should understand that deciding to end a pregnancy can not be an easy decision to make or to live with afterwards. i am lucky, that the happiness i see in my children daily provides me with knowing that i made the right choice. had info&nhs abortions been available here i would have had the pregnancy terminated by 9 weeks gestation. as it was not,& i was also de-railed by the anti-abortion nuts, i was 15 weeks gestation. give these women a break ffs