Three major U.S. newspapers are being criticized for rejecting a paid ad (shown at right) submitted by a national pro-life group. The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and USA Today all refused to run a sensitive and compelling ad, created by the national pro-life group Heroic Media, which shows a hand holding a tiny 24-week-old pre-born baby, and includes the tagline: “This child has no voice, which is why it depends on yours. Speak Up.”
Joe Young, executive director of Heroic Media, told Live Action News he was shocked that the newspapers, which have all published stories biased toward a “pro-choice” viewpoint, would reject a paid ad showing the reality of life at 20 weeks. “I am disturbed that these papers would run article after article promoting the notion that abortion is a victimless act without consequences,” Young said. “The fact remains, children who are unique individuals — never again to be duplicated — are being killed in the most violent way imaginable and they feel the excruciating pain of that death.”
The ad campaign was launched just one week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation, which has already been passed in several states, is based on scientific evidence that pre-born babies can feel pain by at least the 20th week of pregnancy. “Science shows that at eight weeks after fertilization, the unborn child reacts to touch, and at 20 weeks, the unborn baby responds to what would be felt as pain,” noted Live Action News.
Pro-life observers pointed out that the image of the 20-week-old pre-born baby featured in the Heroic Media ad is in no way sensational or meant to depict the horrors implicit when such a baby is aborted. Nonetheless, noted Young, the newspapers all rejected the ad as too controversial. “It seems as though it is okay to talk about the issue in general, but when you actually put a face to the discussion, then it becomes controversial,” Young challenged.
After the initial rejection the pro-life group reworked the ad, submitting a less “controversial” version that includes an image of a twenty-week-old pre-born baby in utero instead of being held in a hand. Thus far the Chicago Tribune is the only one of the three papers which has agreed to run the updated ad, with the stipulation that the pro-life group clearly indicate that it is an advertisement.
The ad includes a request that Americans contact their U.S. senators to urge them to pass the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Pro-life leaders say that appears unlikely, since the Senate is controlled by a largely pro-abortion Democrat majority.
Young said the point of the ad campaign is simple: “Americans deserve to know the truth about the children sentenced to die for no fault of their own and that we have a chance to spare some of them through this legislation.”
On its website Heroic Media explains: “It is vital for individuals to understand that contrary to what some believe, a 20-week-old fetus is not a blob of tissue, but a fully formed person with no voice, no vote, and no rights. We must recognize this issue is not a war on women, but a war on children, and we will be working toward educating individuals about this through a nationwide media campaign.”
Young said his group hopes that through the ad, “the American public will begin to advance this debate with both the mother and child in mind.”