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Pro-life ad campaign survives attempts to kill credibility

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed complaints against a Northern Ireland ad campaign that claimed 100,000 people have been saved by the countries restrictions on abortion.

The ad, an initiative of the group Both Lives Matter was displayed publicly this past January. The advert's main statement was "100,000 People are alive today because of our laws on abortion. Why change that?".


Both lives really do matter

Both Lives Matter says of its mission:

We want to speak life and hope into the difficult and divisive debate on abortion. 
We reject a dangerous dichotomy which pitches a woman against her unborn child. 
We offer an alternative voice – calling for better choices – because we believe women, families and our society deserve better than abortion.

Unsurprisingly, the group's billboard ad campaign did not sit well with pro-abortion groups. Despite the very thorough statistics published in the report behind the billboard claim, there were 14 complaints made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that asserted there was no evidence to back up the ad's claim. The ASA, however, dismissed all complaints stating


On balance, we concluded that the evidence indicated that there was a reasonable probability that around 100,000 people were alive in Northern Ireland today who would have otherwise been aborted had it been legal to do so.


In the launch report from Both Lives Matter in which the statistics behind the 100,000 figure are reviewed, spokesperson Dawn McAvoy says:


"We hope that Northern Ireland will not fall for the modern myth that progress on women's

rights should be measured by the ability to end the life of their own children."


Ongoing liberalisation attempts

The Both Lives Matter campaign comes as there continues to be push for liberalised abortion legislation from within Stormont, Northern Ireland's seat of government. Following the reconvening of Parliament after the General Election, the Government announced that Northern Irish women will no long have to pay to procure an abortion in the UK, with the procedure now being available to them on the NHS. In the wake of this decision, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has maintained its pro-life credentials despite agreeing to prop up the Government following Theresa May's ill-fated General Election. DUP MP Ian Paisley said:


"I'm going to make it absolutely clear that the rights of the unborn child, in my view and in the views of people in my party and on this bench, trump any political agreement that had been put in place."


An example worth following

Christians should be encouraged by the ASA's decision as it shows that substantive, statistical, fact based advertising can still be allowed, even while contradicting 'values' that much of our politically correct society wrongly sees as progressive. While the 100,000 alive today because of Northern Ireland's abortion restrictions stand on their own as living testimonies to the importance of valuing life in national law, their example is all the more powerful when seen in the context that they comprise 10% of Northern Ireland's population under 50 years of age (the time frame in which abortion has been legal in Great Britain). Both Lives Matter has set an example of quality research, good presentation, and positive practical challenge that many campaign organisations can learn from.

Continue to pray for Both Lives Matter, the DUP, and other individuals and organisations that continue to uphold the value of life for mothers and their pre-born babies. Please also look for ways in which you can stand up for the life of the pre-born.

Related Links:
New abortion figures make for grim reading | Regan King
Northern Ireland abortion law appeal successful