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Media – Pro-life advert upheld

September 2017

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has rejected complaints made against ‘Both Lives Matter’ (BLM) about a billboard campaign.

In January 2017, BLM ran two billboards, which claimed, ‘100,000 people are alive today because of our laws on abortion. Why change that?’ Fourteen complainants argued this claim was misleading and could not be substantiated.

The ASA carried out a thorough investigation, seeking expert statistical advice, which has backed the claim made by BLM.

Dawn McAvoy, BLM spokesperson, commented: ‘Our opponents said we could not substantiate the claim despite us producing a robust report. The ASA examined our calculations and it backed our figure. Its experts concluded it is reasonable to say 100,000 people are alive today who would have otherwise been aborted, had it been legal to do so. This independent verification is a real endorsement of our campaign’.

The key line from the ASA report reads: ‘On balance, we concluded the evidence indicated there was a reasonable probability that approximately 100,000 people were alive in Northern Ireland today who would have otherwise been aborted had it been legal to do so’.

Ms McAvoy added: ‘We are a pro-women and pro-life group trying to find a third way through this emotional subject. Rather than focus on the negative, we have always sought to be a positive movement. The billboard sought to highlight the 100,000 people alive in Northern Ireland today because we didn’t bring in the 1967 Act.

‘Statistically, everyone in Northern Ireland knows someone who is alive today because of our balanced laws relating to abortion. We wanted people to realise this had changed the lives of everyone. It also debunks the myth that law does not stop abortions — it clearly does’.

BLM is a collaborative movement of individuals and organisations, which includes the Evangelical Alliance and CARE, seeking to re-frame the abortion debate in Northern Ireland and beyond.