Several television networks have rejected an ad from a pro-life group that asserts the humanity of unborn children, saying the ad is “controversial” and “unacceptable.”
CBS, CMT, owned by ViacomCBS, and the Hallmark channel, owned by Crown Media, all rejected the 30-second spot from the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, a national pro-life group.
“Five decades of medical breakthroughs. Every age group has more opportunity to live except one. The unborn still fall victim to outdated laws,” the ad’s narrator says as the outline of an unborn baby from a pregnancy sonogram flashes across the screen.
“Science tells us that at fifteen weeks these babies have fully formed faces. They smile. They yawn. They feel pain,” the ad continues.
“Isn’t it time the law reflects the science?” the spot concludes.
We're launching an initial $2M campaign highlighting the humanity of unborn children as the Supreme Court prepares to review a landmark abortion case
Watch the ad: pic.twitter.com/3xNV0Mm4sm
— Susan B. Anthony List #HydeSavesLives (@SBAList) May 26, 2021
CBS rejected the ad on the grounds that it would violate their advocacy guidelines.
“Issue-oriented advertisements that are designed for the purpose of presenting views or influencing legislation on issues that are controversial by general public consensus are unacceptable,” CBS wrote in an email to the SBA List.
CMT, originally launched as Country Music Television, said that the network does accept some issue-oriented ads but not ones that are generally considered “controversial.”
“While we do accept political and issue-based ads on a case-by-case basis, issue-oriented ads that are designed for the purpose of presenting views or influencing legislation on issues that are controversial by general public consensus are unacceptable,” CMT wrote in an email to the pro-life group.
Meanwhile, Crown Media told the group that they could not accept the ad because it does not meet the Hallmark channel’s criteria for the positive experience Hallmark aims to offer viewers, according to the SBA List.
The SBA List launched the ad as as part of a $2 million television campaign in response to last month’s news that the Supreme Court will take up a case involving a Mississippi law that seeks to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The ad, paid for by the SBA List Education Fund, “doesn’t issue any calls to action to Congress or attack any candidate or politician,” the SBA List said.
“It simply praises the modern miracles of medicine and health care tech which have increased opportunities for every generation in the last 50 years, except for the unborn because the U.S. allows abortion on-demand through birth,” the group added.
In 2018, more than 619,500 abortions were performed in the U.S., according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. About 11 abortions were performed per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 and about 189 abortions per 1,000 live births.
In 2019, a Marist poll found that Americans are now as likely to identify as pro-life as pro-choice, with 47 percent identifying with each label. A few months later, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that a majority of Americans want at least some restrictions on abortion rights.
“SBA List simply seeks to educate the majority of Americans who support common sense pro-life policies and yet, are unaware of our nation’s extremely permissive abortion laws,” the group said. “Ideologically driven abortion allies in the media want to keep the status quo.”