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Elections & Politics

NBC Universal Issues Statement to Planned Parenthood Clarifying Standards on Abortion

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 06.24.14

In response to an overwhelming outcry from people across the country, NBC Universal has issued a statement to Planned Parenthood saying it will air a digital ad that was wrongly rejected, clarifying its policies, and explaining that the network is reviewing its systems to ensure that ads aren't rejected inappropriately in the future for mentioning the word “abortion.” The development comes after reports that the network rejected a movie trailer for the romantic comedy Obvious Child simply because it included the word “abortion,” which a staffer at the network deemed inappropriate for audiences. In the days that followed, Planned Parenthood and thousands of supporters, including Lena Dunham from Girls, petitioned the network to clarify its standards and engage in discussion about the impact of contributing to stigma about abortion.

You can view the petition, which garnered more than 13,000 signatures here:  http://bit.ly/1jKgROE; and the letter Planned Parenthood issued to NBC executives here: http://bit.ly/1j9yU0G.

Statement from NBC Universal to Planned Parenthood:

"NBCUniversal has no policy against accepting ads that include the word “abortion.” Several ad proposals for “Obvious Child” were submitted to our television broadcast standards group for review, and, consistent with NBCUniversal policy and practice, no direction was given to remove references to the word “abortion.” Ultimately, no final ad was submitted or purchased for television broadcast.

"Separately, an online ad was submitted for digital placement and feedback was mistakenly given to remove the word “abortion.” That is not company policy and we are currently reviewing our ad standards processes to ensure they are consistent across all platforms moving forward.

"Our digital platforms will accept the ad as it was originally submitted."

Statement from Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“We applaud NBC Universal for clarifying that ads mentioning abortion are allowed to run and for taking steps to ensure that its policies are followed consistently going forward.

“We are grateful to the thousands of people who signed our petition and made their voices heard on this, from the doctor in Florida to the college student in Oregon to Lena Dunham.

“Film and television have a unique role in sparking honest, accurate discussions about abortion, and we're committed to helping end the shame and stigma that is still too often perpetuated in the media.”

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.