Three television networks have refused to air an ad from a leading pro-life group, describing it as “controversial” and “unacceptable,” according to a new report.
The Daily Wire reported Tuesday that CBS, CMT and the Hallmark Channel refused to air a 30-second advertisement from the Susan B. Anthony List that was first released last week. The ad is part of the pro-life group’s $2 million campaign “highlighting the humanity of unborn children as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark abortion case.”
The ad campaign follows the announcement that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from the state of Mississippi, which is seeking to reverse a lower court decision invalidating the state’s 15-week abortion ban. A ruling in favor of that state would weaken the central finding of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which found that a woman has the right to obtain an abortion.
The narrator in the ad notes that after “five decades of medical breakthroughs, every age group has more opportunity to live except one: the unborn.” Explaining that unborn babies “still fall victim to outdated laws,” the ad notes that “science tells us that at 15 weeks, these babies have formed faces, they smile, they yawn [and] they feel pain.”
“It’s why European countries ban late-term abortions,” the ad continues. “In five decades, we have learned they are just like us. Isn’t it time the law reflects the science?” The ad concludes with a picture of the Supreme Court building and a link to the Susan B. Anthony List’s website.
In an email to SBA List, a CBS official explained that “Issue-oriented advertisements that are designed for the purpose of presenting views or influencing legislation on issues that are controversial by general public consensus are unacceptable.”
An official with CMT offered a nearly identical response in a separate email to the pro-life group: “While we do accept political and issue-based ads on a case-by-case basis, issue-based ads that are designed for the purpose of presenting views or influencing legislation on issues that are controversial by general public consensus are unacceptable.” Both CBS and CMT are owned by Viacom.
In a statement announcing the $2 million ad campaign, Susan B. Anthony List indicated that the 30-second spot “will air on national cable, including on Lifetime, Hallmark, and Bravo networks, as well as select streaming services, and in the Washington, D.C. media market on top news stations.” However, Hallmark ultimately rejected the ad because, as The Daily Wire reported, “it does not meet the Hallmark Channel’s criteria for the positive experience Hallmark aims to offer viewers.”
Susan B. Anthony List reacted to the channels’ refusal to show the ad in a tweet Wednesday: “BIG MEDIA corporations like @CBS & @hallmarkchannel BANNED our pro-life TV ad, claiming it’s too ‘controversial.’ The right to LIFE is NOT controversial!”
The tweet was accompanied by a button that Twitter users were encouraged to click on, which would enable them to share the hashtag #DontBanThis.” The ad's message reflects pro-life activists' view that advancements in science and technology over the last half century will persuade the Supreme Court justices to rule in their favor.
In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Diane Ferraro, CEO of the pro-life ministry Save the Storks, remarked that “When Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, the court did not have all of the facts.” She praised the state of Mississippi for doing “a phenomenal job putting the science together,” and predicted that it will present the justices with “the scientific facts on how a baby does feel pain in the womb at 15 weeks” and “an updated viewpoint to the Supreme Court justices for them to consider.”
“We do feel and trust and we’re praying that this will help convince them that Roe v. Wade does need to be overturned,” she added. “We are praying that the justices, that they will truly consider all of the facts and that the case will be something that they consider not with the past in mind but with the future and how they can really help empower moms.”
The composition of the Supreme Court, which currently consists of six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three justices appointed by Democratic presidents, is also giving pro-life activists confidence that the court will rule in their favor. The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case challenging the Mississippi abortion law, in its upcoming October term, paving the way for a decision some time next spring.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org