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November 2017

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Complaints over Both Lives Matter Billboard rejected


Extract from Irish Times:-

The British Advertising Standards Authority has rejected complaints about a billboard campaign arguing that 100,000 more people are alive in Northern Ireland because its abortion laws are more restrictive than those in Britain.


In January this year the Both Lives Matter organisation ran two billboards in the North stating, “100,000 people are alive today because of our laws on abortion. Why change that?” The billboards were placed in Belfast and Derry.


This prompted 14 complainants who contended that the claim was misleading and could not be substantiated.


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) however ruled the advertisement was not misleading and not in breach of its code. In its 3,370-word ruling the authority examined the methodologies used by the organisation which mainly focused on a comparison with abortion data from Scotland, but also from England and Wales and ultimately found it was a reasonable estimate.


It stated, “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”.


Dawn McAvoy of Both Lives Matter said her organisation was as “cautious as possible” with its 100,000 lives estimate and believed that the real figure may be much higher.

“Using a simple comparison with the abortion rate in England and Wales the headline figure would be almost 250,000,” she added.


“We are a pro-woman and pro-life group trying to find a third way through this very emotional subject. Rather than focus on the negative, we have always sought to be a positive movement,” she said.


“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,” added Ms McAvoy.


“We wanted people to realise that this had changed the lives of everyone. It also debunks the myth that law doesn’t stop abortions – it clearly does.”


Read the full article here


Extract from Both Lives Matter website:-

Both Lives Matter is  a collaborative movement of individuals & organisations seeking to re-frame the abortion debate in Northern Ireland and beyond; to  advocate for better care in pregnancy crisis;  to create a life-affirming culture that values each woman and her unborn child;  to safe-guard the current law which protects both women and unborn children.


They stand together, from every background, all faiths or none, united in recognising the human dignity of everyone, ready to create a new culture, where compassion, solidarity and support for both lives is the norm.


We stand for the recognition and protection of human life. When human life and dignity is at stake, this is about more than a private choice, it is of community or public interest.

We stand with women and unborn children calling for world-leading support, services and better care than abortion.


We advocate for the retention of our present law which seeks to protect the lives and health of both women and unborn children.


Link to Both Lives Matter website here