IMPORTANT: If you'd like to complain directly to the advertising company hosting the Youth Defence billboards, you can send this below template (changed to your name) to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. The template is below:
To whom it may concern,
I would like to register my dissatisfaction with an advertising campaign your company are currently running across many billboards in Dublin, by an organisation called "Youth Defence". I would like to inform you that, as an Irish citizen, these people do not protect me or my interests - and in fact by running these disingenuous, damaging advertisements they (and thus your company) are actively harming me and many other women. I am pro-choice, but defend the right of those who are anti-choice to voice their opinions - but only if they are intelligent, well-considered and based on facts rather than harmful lies, emotive scaremongering and judgement. These advertisements (including images of a torn sonogram and an unborn child) not only spread misinformation about the emotional outcome of abortion for women, but are also extremely damaging as regards how judgemental and guilt-inducing they may be for many women and couples on a daily basis. Essentially, I believe that these posters are wrong and that your company are morally at fault by agreeing to display and propagate them.
No matter one's opinions on the choice debate, those pro or anti choice alike should recognise that these billboards are, at best inappropriate and, at worst, extremely damaging to many Irish citizens. I wish to emphasise to you that this is not an argument merely about choice, but about the manner in which Youth Defence are furthering their agenda, and the manner in which you are facilitating that behaviour.
The billboards you have chosen to run for Youth Defence are not informative, factual or persuasive. They are emotionally manipulative, based on lies and unfair to women. Specifically, taking into account the ASAI Manual of Advertising Self-Regulation (http://www.asai.ie/code.asp), it can be found to fall down under all of the following:
2.1: The advertisement is not honest and truthful, as there is not always a better option.
2.2 The advertisement is not prepared with a sense of responsibility to society, as it demonises those who go through with abortion, and contributes to a culture of shame, which is to the detriment of anyone in that situation.
2.12 There is significant division of informed opinion on the claim made in the advertisement, but the advertisement suggests it is universally accepted that there is always a better answer, and that abortion tears her life apart, going so far as to emphasise the word "always".
2.15 This advertisement contains something that is likely to cause grave and widespread offence, by stating outright there is always a better option, especially considering the established legal precedent set by the 1992 X Case, and furthemore by stating that abortion tears a woman's life apart.
It may violate 2.19 as they are using offensive copy, and may be doing so simply to attract attention.
It may violate 2.20 Though not specifically a product or service, the "pro life" political stance it promotes is one which is offensive to people, and it seems apparent that they did not "avoid causing offence in such marketing communications"
2.22: The advertisement exploits the inexperience and lack of knowledge of consumers by providing them with absolute statements about things which in reality vary from person to person.
2.24 The advertisement misleads and is likely to mislead as a result of its use of exaggeration (both statements made in the copy of advert).
2.27 The claims in this advertisement go beyond a statement of opinion, and they cannot be substantiated.
2.29 By telling women that there is "always" (emphasised) a better option, and that abortion "tears" a woman's life apart, this advertisement encourages and condones "dangerous behaviour or unsafe practices" as it discourages women from having an abortion in ANY circumstances, even when their lives are medically threatened as a result of the pregnancy.
These advertisements are therefore not only extremely inappropriate for daily viewing by children, vulnerable members of society and couples/women who have chosen to undergo abortion, but also very probably running contradictory to ASAI guidelines. I am shocked and angered that your company would run this number of billboards, taking into account what I have outlined above. Bear in mind that this negatively impacts upon the image of your business, and reflects poorly upon you. Please remedy this situation in the manner you deem appropriate - may I suggest by not running anymore Youth Defence campaigns that use these methods in the future.