There are plans to show an abortion ‘advert’ on Channel 4 next Monday evening at 10:10pm. This makes me feel quite sick.
I remember I was watching TV with my mum about a year ago when an advert came on for the morning after pill. I told her I was disgusted that they could show such a thing as an advert, like it was some kind of convenience product you can pick up at the supermarket should you fancy one.
I actually made a comment at the time, thinking I was being ridiculous and melodramatic, that next on our screens would be adverts for abortions. I honestly never thought the day would come though. Yet here we are, a year later.
First of all let me get something straight. I am not anti-abortion. I am very much pro-choice. And if a woman feels like the right decision for her is to have an abortion then I fully respect and support that.
I’ve never been in a position of needing to make that decision myself. I don’t think I would have one. But I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that I might have one.
But it would be a harrowing choice to have to make. It is something I would take very seriously. I would be making a decision on whether it was better for my baby to die than to have the chance of living. And then there are the possible psychological consequences I could be living with for the rest of my life. Many women who have had an abortion say that they never, ever get over it or recover from their decision.
But with adverts like this entering our daily lives, we are in grave danger of cheapening this huge, potentially highly damaging decision.
And anyone who bangs on about sexual health as a reason for adverts like this is so very misguided. According to the Guardian, Marie Stopes, the sexual health clinic which the advert is from, said it “took the decision to screen the commercial after a study found fewer than half of UK adults knew where to go for specialist advice about an unplanned pregnancy other than their GP.”
OTHER THAN THEIR GP. Are they not listening to themselves? People are clearly well-aware that they can turn to their GP if they need advice on the matter. I’m also guessing that people are well-aware they could easily Google the issue and be confronted by plenty of trustworthy advice from organisation such as Marie Stopes themselves and the NHS.
In fact, to prove this, I have just Googled ‘abortion advice’. The NHS came up as the first result and Marie Stopes are third.
And this is without even going into the countless helplines there are out there and the fact that we live in the kind of society nowadays where most people would be able to find someone personally who they could talk things through with, and get support from, when it comes to making such a huge decision.
People do not need some crass advert to encourage them into seeing abortion as a no-big-deal quick fix when it comes to an unwanted pregnancy. We do not need to be any more desensitised to killing an unwanted baby than we already are.
Abortion is a very important woman’s right. But it is also potentially psychologically, and sometimes even physically, highly damaging for the woman concerned. It is something which should be entered into on the understanding that it is an absolute last-resort option. Something which we should try to avoid at all costs.
An abortion is not a condom. And quite frankly it is starting to get the same treatment as one in our media, and that really scares me.
By Sophie Hudson