NBC Caves to Planned Parenthood on Abortion

June 25th, 2014 3:44 PM

You just knew it was too good to be true. After all, what major network would dare voice discomfort with infanticide? 

When the media reported that NBC allegedly refused ads for the new movie “Obvious Child” because the new they included the word “abortion,” Planned Parenthood began a petition against NBC for “silencing ads.” On June 24, the network confessed in a statement to Planned Parenthood that “feedback was mistakenly given to remove the word ‘abortion’" and that such actions were not “company policy.” 

Advertised as a “romantic abortion comedy” by the media, “Obvious Child” opens in theaters nationwide June 27. Directed by Gillian Robespierre, the A24 film stars SNL’s Jenny Slate as an aspiring young comedian who finds true love after abortion.

Taking to social media, Planned Parenthood Action rejoiced over NBC’s response. Calling NBC’s move a “huge step forward in the work towards more honesty about women and abortion in TV and movies,” the organization issued a “THANK YOU to the thousands who signed and made your voices heard!”  

According to Planned Parenthood Action, NBCUniversal issued the following

NBCUniversal has no policy against accepting ads that include the word “abortion.” Several ad proposals for “Obvious Child” were submitted to our television broadcast standards group for review, and, consistent with NBCUniversal policy and practice, no direction was given to remove references to the word “abortion.” Ultimately, no final ad was submitted or purchased for television broadcast.

Separately, an online ad was submitted for digital placement and feedback was mistakenly given to remove the word “abortion.” That is not company policy and we are currently reviewing our ad standards processes to ensure they are consistent across all platforms moving forward.

Our digital platforms will accept the ad as it was originally submitted.

Besides the petition, a Twitter hashtag, championed by Girls’ Lena Dunham, emerged to pressure NBC to #StoptheStigma.

Using the same hashtag, Planned Parenthood concluded to supporters on Twitter: “Your voices were heard. @NBC says it allows ads with "abortion," & will ensure policies are followed.”

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.