Pro-life billboard pulled down for being 'offensive'

Advertising company buckles under pressure, according to support group

A pro-life group is “disappointed” its outdoor advertising has been taken down by the billboard company that put it up, following public complaints about it being “offensive”.

Featuring a pregnant woman’s stomach with the tagline “A heart beats at four weeks”, the billboard was paid for by Emily’s Voice, an advocacy and support organisation for “women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy”.

Ooh! Media decided to take down the billboard on the Pacific Highway in Belmont, New South Wales, because it “could cause offence to a significant section of the community”.

Last month, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said he was “appalled” by the ad and had it removed from buses.

“We are disappointed Ooh! Media has buckled to pressure, removing the Emily’s Voice heart billboard from the Pacific Highway in Belmont NSW,” Emily’s Voice CEO Paul O’Rourke wrote in a statement.

“We honestly don’t understand what part of the advertisement simply stating the scientific fact that an unborn child has a heartbeat at four weeks from conception is offensive.

“Is the greatest fear a woman may question whether her abortion was an informed choice, or that women may continue an unexpected pregnancy and experience unexpected joy?”

“A commercial decision, not a logical or moral one.” – Paul O’Rourke

An online petition was created by local resident Shaynie Croese, designed to limit the free speech of the pro-life group.

Croese told Nine News that “a lot of people are outraged that in 2019 we still have organisations that are allowed to have a billboard that is basically just telling women what to do with their bodies.”

“We are a secular state now and have been for a long time.

“Fair enough these organisations have a belief, but that highway is a public domain.”

O’Rourke said the same advertisement went up a few years ago “without incident” at an Ooh! Media site, 200 metres from the Belmont site. He also questioned why Constance had not also intervened recently to “ban” bus ads for a Newcastle pregnancy support centre, or ads telling women not to drink while pregnant.

“What’s the difference?” asked O’Rourke, who described Ooh! Media’s decision as “a commercial decision, not a logical or moral one.”

“We should be able to represent vulnerable women and unborn children in a sensitive and respectful manner without falling victim to political correctness and confected outrage.”

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