Advertising Standards Authority Rules Pro-life Bilboard 'Offensive'


The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that the Christian Action Network's billboard stating "Abortion Kills Babies," is "offensive" and must be withdrawn.

The side of the mobile billboard in question reads "Since 1997 700 000 [updated in 2010 to 1 000 000] babies have lost their right to life. Abortion kills babies. 'Choose Life so that you and your children may live'" next to a picture of an 18 week old pre-born baby sucking its thumb.

The other side of the billboard, not considered in the ASA ruling, depicts an 8 week-old pre-born baby and states "8 weeks after conception: heartbeat, brainwave, fingerprints, hiccups, somersaults, thumb sucking. 'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves...'"

This is incredibly hypocritical of the ASA to rule a tastefully presented pro-life billboard offensive when they allow billboards from strip joints, with highly suspected involvement in trafficking, to depict half-naked women as sex objects!

The mobile pro-life billboard has been used twice a year by CAN for over 10 years as part of their pro-life demonstrations - on the National Day of Repentance (1 February) - the anniversary of the legalisation of abortion in South Africa outside Parliament, and secondly on International Life Chain Sunday. These demonstrations are legal according to the Regulation of Gatherings Act, so is the ASA suggesting that the many hundreds of placards also stating that "Abortion Kills Babies" are also illegal?

The complainant stated to the ASA that billboard is offensive because abortion is legal and likened the billboard to "white supremacists stating their racist views"!

Apartheid and slavery were also once legal, but legality has never made anything right. Abortion is legal, but that cannot make killing babies right. We have the Constitutional right to freedom of speech to speak up for the Right to Life of pre-born babies.

In our response to the woman's complaint submitted to the ASA, we pointed out that NGOs have billboards with pictures of pre-born babies and warnings not to drink or smoke whilst pregnant, as it could "harm your baby". In their judgement, the ASA stated that our message, in contrast to such billboards, is not one of "social responsibility" but a "viewpoint on moral values, something substantially more subjective and intimately personal"!

We are convinced that speaking up for the right to life of pre-born babies is our social responsibility and we will be appealing this ruling as a clear violation of our Constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Please pray that God would grant us wisdom as we draft our appeal (we will be asking an attorney for advice) and for God's favour in the final decision.

It is notable that the ASA, paid by the advertisers, so often rules in favour of strip joint advertisers' adverts offensive to many South Africans, yet rules a billboard stating the obvious truth that "abortion kills babies", as "offensive" to the hypothetical "reasonable person"!

At all our Life Chains we collect baby items which are donated to a Mission dedicated to helping the destitute and those facing a crisis pregnancy.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves..." Proverbs 31:8

Mavericks Billboards Promote Adultery
Two new Mavericks billboards in Cape Town - one on the N1 highway (going towards Cape Town, just before Pardin Island turnoff) and the other on Kloof Nek Road (Cape Town central), blatantly promote adultery.

The billboards advertise a new cologne for men called "Alibis". One blogger aptly renamed this cologne "the stench of sleaze".

Both billboards depict a half-naked woman in a lewd pose, lying on her stomach and the words, "I was working late". There are three schools within a 1km radius of the Kloof Nek Road billboard and it is close to a children's park.

These billboards are encouraging males to lie to their wives in order to commit adultery at strip joints, with women who are very likely to have been trafficked (enslaved)! Both billboards stereotype women as sex objects.

The more complaints the ASA receives, the more they will get a sense of how ordinary South Africans feel about such billboards.

What You Can Do:
Send your complaint with your name, address and ID number to:

The Advertising Standards Authority, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax: 011- 781 1616.

Taryn Hodgson
Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
7735 Cape Town
South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 -
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