- The Iona Institute - https://ionainstitute.ie -

Advertising regulator upholds ‘100,000 lives saved’ billboard claim

A billboard ad claiming that 100,000 lives have been saved because of Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion regime was run in January. Complaints about its accuracy were made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The good news is that the complaints have been rejected because the ASA believes the claim is reasonable and defensible.

As you know, in 1967 a very permissive Abortion Act was passed in England and Wales and became the basis of similar law in Scotland. The Act was never extended to Northern Ireland where abortion is only permitted in more limited circumstances.

Pro-life advocates throughout Ireland have always stressed how resisting permissive abortion laws like those in the UK saves lives. In addition, we have always maintained that restrictive abortion law helps shape a pro-life culture in which the lives of both mothers and unborn babies really do matter.

The claim on the ad by Both Lives Matter that at least 100,000 lives have been saved was calculated by comparing the abortion rate in Northern Ireland with the much higher abortion rate on the neighbouring island.

The pro-choice lobby complained to the ASA that the ad was “inappropriate, inaccurate and offensive.”

 The ASA carried out a thorough investigation [1], appointing an independent expert to rigorously scrutinise the methodologies behind the 100,000 lives saved claim and has now backed its accuracy.

The ASA stated: “In balance we concluded that the evidence indicated that there was a reasonable probability that around 100,000 people were alive today who would otherwise have been aborted had it been legal to do so.”

This is a big deal for the pro-life cause in both parts of this island. Our claim that huge numbers of lives have been saved by our pro-life laws now has very considerable added credibility.

Think about that number, 100,000. Its hard to get our minds around the scale of this. Imagine Croke Park filled to capacity with another 20,000 outside. Then think of the impact the lives of those individuals would have on others. Think again of their children and grandchildren.

In terms of impact on human life no other single political decision in our lifetime comes close. Tragically, one in five children in England and wales are now aborted and one in in four to one in three women on average will have had an abortion in their lifetimes. The Down Syndrome population alone is being virtually extinguished in the name of ‘choice’

Last week’s ruling by the ASA should serve as a huge incentive to all of us to continue in our efforts to strenuously resist any attempts to change our laws and to uphold the life, health and dignity of mothers and unborn babies in Ireland. As the billboard says, 100,000 lives (at least) have been saved in Northern Ireland alone, why would we want to change that?