The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times, refused to run a pro-life ad from Heroic Media last week, calling it “too controversial.” The ad featured an adult hand holding a medically accurate fetal model of a 20-to-24-week-old baby with the quote, “This child has no voice, which is why it depends on yours. Speak Up.”
Heroic Media, a non-profit, pro-life organization that uses media to connect with women, created the ad to raise awareness that babies aborted late-term feel pain. They urged readers to contact their senators about supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act which would ban abortions past 20 weeks.
Newspapers including the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Houston Chronicle ran the ad last week, but the other three wouldn’t budge. The Chicago Tribune asked Heroic Media to change the image if they were to run the ad. Yesterday, they ran an alternate ad with the picture of a child in-utero.
All three newspapers said the image was controversial because it was unclear whether the child was alive or dead. But the ad did not show blood or gore, only a child at that stage of gestation.
“It is disturbing that national publications certainly don’t shy away from the issue from a legislative light or under the frame of a woman’s right to choose,” said Marissa Cope of Heroic Media. “But once we give a voice and a face to the child at stake, suddenly it is too controversial.”
So far, the ads have generated a strong response. Cope said she’s received messages from people across the country wanting to sign up to support Heroic Media and contact their senators. Some people even asked if they could reproduce the ad on bumper stickers and T-shirts.
“We want the power of the media to build a culture that is life-affirming on both an individual level and on a community and nationwide level,” she said. “We have the opportunity to hold the media accountable so that they can provide a balanced and truthful outlook to cover this.”
Read WORLD's 2012 profile of Cope.