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Elections & Politics

Planned Parenthood: Why NBC’s Abortion Ad Snafu Matters

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

For Immediate Release: 06.25.14

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.

In an op-ed on the Daily Beast today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund Vice President of Communications Eric Ferrero explained:

NBC was right to clarify its policies and redouble its efforts to make sure they are followed. Our discussions with the network were open, honest, and productive, and we applaud them for setting the record straight and agreeing to air the ad that was wrongly rejected.

“But the controversy about NBC rejecting this ad is just a symptom of a much deeper problem. Abortion is nearly nonexistent in film and television. It’s hard to imagine the title character of a popular sitcom on one of the major broadcast networks deciding to have an abortion today. Maude, as it turns out, was much further ahead of her time than anyone imagined.”

Ferrero continued, “Television and film are enormously influential in our culture, particularly for the cues they send about health and sexuality. Through popular culture, young people get the message early and often that, while they may have the right to get an abortion, there’s something wrong with them if they exercise that right.

“It’s time to bring that stigma into the light, expose it, and reject it — and we all have a role to play.”

You can read the entire op-ed in the Daily Beast here.

You can view Planned Parenthood’s statement on the film Obvious Child here

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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.