A billboard reading “The casualty list of every abortion: 1 dead, 1 wounded” is a statement that is against prevailing community standards on health and safety according to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB), whereas “85% of Australians Support Voluntary Euthanasia. Our Government Doesn’t! Make them Listen” was approved.

The HowGoodIsThat.org billboard campaign provides thought provoking and confronting statements on abortion and directs people to their website which shows YouTube clips that further explain their campaign using personal stories of those wounded through abortion. 

According to the ASB, it’s ok to promote one form of death and not expose another. The ASB denied the advertising of a campaign backed by clear evidence – that abortion leaves women wounded – and then allowed advertising of a campaign that had a highly questionable statistic and promoted euthanasia. Euthanasia was overturned in the Northern Territory after it was revealed that patients who suffered symptoms of depression were euthanised.

The seemingly contradictory decisions begin to make sense when the ASB itself admits that “the truth and accuracy of the quoted statistics is not within section 2 of the Code, and is therefore an issue which the Board cannot consider when making its determination”.

It seems to be the case that truth is not relevant to billboard advertising, yet prevailing community standards are – even when perceived community standards contradict the truth.

There is a growing body of evidence that reveals a range of negative physical and mental health outcomes for women who have had an abortion. A research paper entitled Women and Abortion: An Evidence Based Review by Women's Forum Australia will be re-launched this month at the Real Choices Conference in Sydney. The second edition will include: updated national and international research on abortion and its effect on women’s health and well-being, personal stories, information on support services and vital information to help women answer the question ‘Pregnant - Now What?’ so that women can make truly informed decisions. It is important that this evidence reaches the public consciousness and begins to change community standards on health and safety regarding abortion.

The full texts of the ASB decisions mentioned in this article are available here, here, and here.

Contact Info:

The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau
Level 2
97 Northbourne Avenue
TURNER ACT 2612
Tel: (02) 6173 1500
Fax: (02) 6262 9833
Email: administration@adstandards.com.au