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Advertising Standards Agency: 100,000 people ARE alive in NI who would have been aborted

2 August 2017


"Northern Ireland’s different approach to abortion has made a very real difference – to at least 100,000 people."

The Advertising Standards Agency has rejected complaints against billboards put out by Northern Ireland campaign group Both Lives Matter.

In January 2017, Both Lives Matter ran two billboards claiming "100,000 PEOPLE ARE ALIVE TODAY BECAUSE OF OUR LAWS ON ABORTION. Why change that?" Fourteen complainants argued that this claim was misleading and could be not be substantiated.

Vindication

However, the ASA has rejected the complaints, and backed the claim made by the pro-life group.

After a thorough investigation, the authority's official report was published today. It said: "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 also noted that while the complainants said the number of 100,000 was presented as an absolute figure, and would be viewed as such by readers, it was reasonable to expect readers to see such a round figure as an estimate based on methodology. 

"Real endorsement"

Dawn McAvoy of BLM 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 expert 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."

A difference to 100,000 people

She went on: "The billboard sought to highlight the 100,000 people alive in Northern Ireland today because we didn’t bring in the 1967 Act. Statistically, everyone in Northern Ireland knows someone who is alive today because of our balanced laws relating to abortion. We wanted people to realise that this had changed the lives of everyone. It also debunks the myth that law doesn’t stop abortions – it clearly does.”

"We hope that this independent verification will lead to widespread acceptance of the fact that Northern Ireland’s different approach to abortion has made a very real difference – to at least 100,000 people."

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