About AEF | Newsletter | Site Map | Legal | Advanced Search
Print Version

Advertising the Abortion Pill

The controversial abortion pill RU-486 is heating things up in the advertising world. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is launching a $2 million educational effort.

The new advertising campaign will be released this July in select magazines. The ads are designed to target 70 percent of women between the ages of 18-49.

The NAF declined to comment on the agency that created the ads. But they did reveal their nature.

A young woman is looking out of a window. The text reads, "You have the freedom to choose. And now you have another safe abortion choice."

Anti-abortion groups argue that there are risks involved with RU-486, which aren't identified in these ads. All pharmaceutical ads are required to disclose a drug's side effects.

However, the federation says they're not specifically advertising a certain product. They say their goal is to raise an educational awareness so there's no need to identify warnings and health risks.

But some magazines have already declined the organization's ad dollars for fear of a backlash from anti-abortion groups. Hearst's Redbook is one of them, recently exercising its option to deny the new print ad from running.

Hearst's Cosmopolitan will carry the ad, though. Time's People and Conde Nast's Vanity Fair and Self have also decided to run the print ad.

A spokesman for The Hearst Corporation says the decision to run the ads was left up to each of its publications. Hearst is the largest publisher of monthly magazines and owns female-oriented publications like CosmoGIRL!, Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar, in addition to Redbook and Cosmopolitan.

A spokeswoman for Conde Nast's Vanity Fair says their readers are smart enough to make their own decisions. Conde Nast owns such magazines as Allure, Glamour, Vogue and Mademoiselle.

Media consultants say more publications will probably turn the NAF away as well. Executives will be too afraid their magazine will be boycotted by anti-abortion groups or even see a line of picketing outside the publication's offices. It's also quite possible that anti-abortion groups such as the Family Research Council could create their own campaign against RU-486.

While the pill is best known as RU-486 or mifepristone, it's actually sold under the brand name Mifeprex. It blocks the hormone progesterone, which is required for establishing and maintaining a pregnancy. The abortion pill has been at the center of controversy for 12 years but gained the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval in September 2000.


Apryl Duncan, About.com. June 6, 2001

Copyright © 2001 About.com, Inc.. All rights reserved.