Marie Stopes’s Abortion Advertising Campaign: update

Advertising Standards Authority rejects 5000 complaints against abortion ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) adjudication has rejected claims that the advert was misleading as to the services that MSI provided. In addition it denied that MSI were providing a commercial service offering individual advice on personal or consumer problems, which is banned under the Advertising Standards Code governing advertising. They ruled that the only thing being advertised was MSI’s general pregnancy advisory service, not abortion per se, and that MSI  as a not-for-profit charity was not engaged in commercial services.

The ProLife Alliance is naturally outraged that the ASA has sidestepped all the legal arguments against the ads which clearly demonstrate that they broke the Advertising Standards Code. The ad is misleading about the nature of the services provided by MSI. The only post-conception service offered by MSI is abortion. However women watching the ad could be misled into thinking that they provide help for women seeking to continue with their pregnancies. The Code also rules that “commercial services offering individual advice on personal or consumer problems” are prohibited. MSI charges private clients for its services, with people paying £80 for a consultation and up to £1,720 for an abortion.

The ProLife Alliance, together with other groups under the umbrella organisation Alive and Kicking, is considering seeking a judicial review of the adjudication.

Abortion Ads Complaints Reach 1000 Milestone

The Marie Stopes abortion advertising campaign has drawn over 1000 complaints in its first two weeks. Channel 4 has received 611 complaints to date and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received 370 more. The complaints have led the ASA to agree to an investigation into whether the ads have broken broadcasting rules. However the investigation will be limited, only considering the ad’s content, rather than the larger issue of whether abortion should be advertised on television.

We thank everyone who has already written to both Channel 4 and the ASA  and would encourage you to act if you have not already done so. Details about how to do so can be found below. Please also write to your MP asking them to sign two Early Day Motions:  EDM 109: Marie Stopes and Abortion Advertisements and EDM 107: Marie Stopes and China.

Update on Action against Marie Stopes’s Abortion Advertising Campaign

The ProLife Alliance, as a member of the campaign group ‘Alive & Kicking’, has participated in the forwarding of an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which was sent at the end of last week. Read the letter here. A&K intends to do everything possible, on our and others behalf, to prevent any further airings of the advertisement in question and you will be kept posted on developments.

Do continue to write individually to the ASA, Channel 4 and your MP, expressing your concerns about the Marie Stopes initiative.


Phone: 020 7492 2222



Write (if you can’t email or phone): Advertising Standards Authority, Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6QT


Phone: 0845 076 0191


Write: Channel 4 Enquiries, PO Box 1058, Belfast, BT1 9DU