Dear Minister

We were surprised and disappointed to have our bus advertisement promoting motherhood, family and informed choice banned from NSW buses.

We understand the advertising was withdrawn after a complaint to you.

We are surprised the ads were deemed “appalling”, the term attributed to you in media reporting of the ban.

We are surprised the ads were rejected for the following reasons:

The advertisements were approved by Go Transit and, presumably the bus operators, before they were affixed to buses. Go Transit felt the ads were appropriate, sensitive and measured, our stated intentions.

Govt buses ran ads late last year for Zoe’s Place, a pregnancy support centre based in Lake Macquarie, one of many support agencies listed on our notbornyet website. Emily’s Voice has been a past financial contributor to the establishment and ongoing work of Zoe’s Place in providing free pregnancy testing, non-directive counselling, mentoring and post-abortion counselling.

We have also given grants to many other pregnancy support agencies throughout Australia.

Your decision corresponds with NSW buses running recent ads advising women not to drink when pregnant.

We are struggling to see the difference between our advertisements and the aforementioned.

Our advertisement simply states the scientific fact that an unborn baby has a heartbeat from four weeks (about 22 days from conception).

Neither the advertisement, nor the notbornyet website contain any images or information that, in any way, shames, condemns or is critical of women who may have had an abortion.

We are fiercely pro-women and for-children.

We feel the reasoning applied to our advertisements is akin to deciding not to run ads about cancer or car accidents for fear of offending those who have lost loved ones to disease or motor vehicle accidents. Such campaigns seek to prevent pain and needless deaths. To do so we need to be able to discuss sensitive issues respectfully and factually.

Emily’s Voice exists to restart and reshape the life conversation in a sensitive and sensible way so women are not coerced, tricked or rushed into choosing abortion. You would be familiar with Miss X and Jaya Taki, the two Sydney women pressured into aborting children they wanted, the former being paid $50,000 to end her pregnancy.

We started out of concern that 70,000 annual abortions end more Australian lives than what we normally consider our biggest killers: heart disease, cancer, the road toll, suicide, stroke and homicide.

Most Australians are unaware there are so many abortions, or that 95% are performed on physically healthy women carrying physically healthy children.

And most Australians are unaware that many women would have continued an unplanned pregnancy if just one significant person encouraged them to do so.

Our ads seek to give hope and encouragement to women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy with reliable, timely information and personal stories about other women and families facing an unplanned pregnancy.

We don’t believe our aims or methods are in any way “appalling” or disrespectful.

I write in the hope you would reconsider your decision.

Yours faithfully

Paul O’Rourke

CEO, Emily’s Voice

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