ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Anne Marie Womens Centre
Anne Marie Womens Centre
73-75 Bell Street
16 February 2005
Objection, from the Women''s Officer of Leeds University Union, to an advertisement, in the Pregnancy section of a business telephone directory, for an abortion advice centre. Text stated "CONSIDERING abortion? Confidential and Friendly information & services related to: Abortion, Free Pregnancy Testing, Emergency Contraception ANNE-MARIE WOMEN''S CENTRE FOR A QUICK, LOCAL APPOINTMENT ... Get your life back on track ...".
The complainant, who asserted that the centre was run by an ''anti-abortion'' organisation, objected that the advertisement was misleading because it did not make clear the advertisers'' ethical stance on the issue of abortion.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers did not respond in writing to the ASA''s enquiries. The Authority was concerned by the advertisers'' lack of response, which it considered a breach of the Code. It reminded the advertisers of their responsibility to respond to the ASA''s enquiries and asked them to do so promptly in future.
The Authority understood that the Anne Marie Women''s Centre could be described as a ''pro-life'' organisation in that they were opposed to abortion on moral grounds. It noted the ''Pregnancy Test Services'' section of the Yellow Pages, in which the advertisement appeared, had a disclaimer explaining that the services advertised might not provide a full range of advice or information. Notwithstanding that disclaimer, the Authority considered that it was not enough to prevent some people from being misled because it considered that most people would infer, from the claim "Confidential and Friendly information & services related to: Abortion ... Emergency Contraception", that the advertisers provided impartial advice that included advice on obtaining an abortion. The Authority concluded that the advertisement was misleading and told the advertisers to make clear their pro-life position in future advertising. The Authority asked CAP to inform its media members of the problem with the advertisers.