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02 August 2017

Press release

Pro-life advert found to be accurate by the ASA

Pro-life advert found to be accurate by the ASA

Today the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected complaints made against Both Lives Matter (BLM) about a billboard campaign. In January 2017, Both Lives Matter ran two billboards claiming "100,000 PEOPLE ARE ALIVE TODAY BECAUSE OF OUR LAWS ON ABORTION. Why change that?" 

Fourteen complainants argued that this claim was misleading and could be not be substantiated. The ASA carried out a thorough investigation, seeking expert statistical advice, which has backed the claim made by Both Lives Matter.

Dawn McAvoy of BLM commented, "We are delighted with this result. Our opponents said we could not substantiate the claim despite us producing a robust report. The ASA have examined our calculations and backed our figure. Their expert concluded that it is reasonable to say that 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 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 BLM continued, "We have been as cautious as possible with our estimate and 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. There was also a suggestion that the advert was misleading and the ASA have rejected this."

"We are a pro-women 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. 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 that this had changed the lives of everyone. It also debunks the myth that law doesn't stop abortions - it clearly does."

"The passing of the 1967 Act is probably the single most important political decision in our lifetime in terms of impact. Abortion has become so normalised that in England and Wales that for every four children born, one has been aborted. By the age of 45 one in three women will have had an abortion, with 38 per cent of all abortions being for women who had at least one abortion previously. And behind each of these stats is an often difficult story. But we also have the chance to make sure that does not become Northern Ireland's story. This is the justice and equality issue of our time."

"The process has taken a lot of time and resource, but we thank the ASA for the thorough job they have done. We now want to get on with working with all those who want to re-frame the abortion debate in Northern Ireland and beyond, advocate for better care in pregnancy crisis, safeguard the current law which protects both women and children, and create a life-affirming culture that values each woman and her unborn child."

"We hope that this independent verification will lead to widespread acceptance of the fact that Northern Ireland's different approach to abortion has made a very real difference - to at least 100,000 people." 


Media Enquiries

Dawn McAvoy
Spokesperson, Both Lives Matter
Tel: 07976 414817 / 07739 307656
Email: info@eauk.org

Danny Webster
Evangelical Alliance
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: info@eauk.org

Notes to Editors

  1. Both Lives Matter is 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; to advocate for better care in pregnancy crisis; to create a life-affirming culture that values each woman and her unborn child; and to safe-guard the current law which protects both women and unborn children. You can find out more at https://bothlivesmatter.org/ 
  2. We have produced a fact sheet, available to journalists on request, outlining the full course of events with regard to the ASA inquiry. 
  3. The ruling online at: https://www.asa.org.uk/codes-and-rulings/rulings.html 
  4. A photograph and PDF of the original billboard are available upon request.

The Evangelical Alliance

We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.