Pro-life ad stirs hornet’s nest


A pro-life advertisement in a Wellington magazine sparked a furious reaction on social media, but Voice for Life says its ad also received much positive feedback. The full page ad, which ran in Capital magazine, spelt out the demographic and social
consequences of preventing 500,000 Kiwis being born.

The ad noted the milestone of 500,000 abortions looming for New Zealand since the first abortion clinic opened in 1974.

Voice for Life also proposed adoption as an option for mothers carrying an unexpected baby.

“There are no unwanted babies. A loving home awaits every one,” the ad stated.

It continued: “Voice for Life believes abortion is wrecking New Zealand’s future. It kills babies who could enjoy love and a future with loving parents.”

Heated criticism of the ad was posted by dozens of commenters on Capital magazine’s Facebook page.

Critiques included allegations of misogyny, being archaic and conservative, offensiveness and
lack of balance.

Capital magazine’s managing editor Alison Franks defended the decision to run the ad.

“We decided, questionable though its message might be, supporting freedom of speech was
important,” Ms Franks wrote on Facebook.

She added that differences of opinion are part of the diversity of Wellington.

Voice for Life’s Steve Jaunay told NZ Catholic that “we have received much positive feedback” following the ad.

Mr Jaunay said he had read the Facebook reactions and found them “typical of that part of our culture that considers abortion as acceptable”.

He said the ad has been run elsewhere, but hadn’t generated anything like such a strong response.

Voice for Life national executive member Karen Raaymakers said the ad had previously been placed in The NZ Herald, the Dominion Post and in local free papers throughout the country.

Mrs Raaymakers said she had only heard of one objection to any of these.

“The number of reactions on the ad in Capital makes me believe that [the] Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand has been encouraging their troops to object as much as possible.”

After the Herald ad, Mrs Raaymakers noted, singer Lizzie Marvelly had a half-page article in the Weekend Herald titled, “It’s her body, it should be her choice”.

“There were many reactions online; the vast majority of those were opposed to Lizzie’s message.”

Mrs Raaymakers said she had heard many favourable reactions to the Capital ad, including one from an independent counsellor “who said it was the best ad she had ever seen”.

Mrs Raaymakers added that Voice for Life didn’t ask for their ad to be placed in Capital.

“They approached us.”

Mr Jaunay shared an experience he once had showing that a strong reaction on this topic might be masking hidden hurts and fears.

“I have clearly seen the two faces of the abortion debate — within the same group of people,” Mr Jaunay said.

“Publicly, I was abused and derided for my view, then when the crowd dispersed, I was cornered by a young woman — who was part of that group — who was suffering terribly, needed help, but didn’t know where to turn, or whether she should’ve felt that way.”

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Michael Otto

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