The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has dismissed complaints against a pro-life poster, ruling that its statistics are correct.
The billboard campaign by Both Lives Matter says that 100,000 people are alive today because of Northern Ireland’s tight abortion laws. However, 14 people complained to the ASA, saying the statistic could not be substantiated.
On Wednesday the regulator issued its verdict saying the poster was not misleading and there was a “reasonable probability” it was accurate.
“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,” the ASA said.
“Because we considered that readers would understand the figure to represent an estimate, we concluded that the claim was unlikely to materially mislead readers.”
Dawn McAvoy, a spokeswoman for Both Lives Matter, 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 panel of experts 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.”
“We have been as cautious as possible with our estimate and the real figure may be much higher,” she added. “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 comprehensively rejected this.
“This is a victory for common sense and free speech. All too often people claiming to be pro-choice shout down any opposition, but the statistics speak for themselves – there have been over 8 million abortions under the 1967 Act in GB, while 100,000 lives have been saved in Northern Ireland. That is the choice we are talking about.”