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Update: CHBC manager says controversial anti-abortion ad pulled before it ever aired

Friday, February 5th, 2010 | 10:30 am

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Update: 02/05/10 10:30 a.m.

By John McDonald

Dennis Gabelhouse, general manager of CHBC, says the decision to pull a graphic anti-abortion ad even before it aired, was made locally, even though it had be previously cleared for use by Telecaster Canada, a national advertising standards organization.

“That doesn’t mean they won’t be unacceptable to some viewers,” Gabelhouse told “The decision was based on it being visually graphic and not being appealing for most of our viewers.”

The ad depicts the severed arm and hand of a fetus, with the tagline “Everyone against abortion, please raise your hand.”

Gabelhouse said the ad is especially graphic when viewed on large screen TVs. “The bigger the screen, the more you see,” he said. “You can actually see parts of the fetus arm that’s been torn away from the body. When you see it as an enlarged visual, it’s not very appealing.”

Gabelhouse said from what he knows, the ad was created in the U.S. in 1989 and has never actually aired on North American television, despite many attempts over the years by pro-life groups to air it on local stations.

The ad insertion was paid for by Kelowna Right to Life and was scheduled to begin airing after midnight on Friday, but Gabelhouse said the station had already received complaints from people who had viewed it on the Internet.

Even if those complaints weren’t made, Gabelhouse said he’s certain there would have been some as soon as the ad started running.

“Advertising Standards Canada would eventually tell us to pull it,” he added.

The station has run ads for Kelowna Right to Life before, albeit of a less graphic nature, and Gabelhouse said he expects they will again in the future.


By Kathy Michaels

Okanagan television will not be  home to the controversial anti abortion ads that gained nationwide attention.

Representatives from Kelowna Right to Life received word from CHBC about an hour ago that they would pull the ad, after a few days of intense public scrutiny.

“The overarching reason is because the image is inappropriate for TV and is too graphic in nature,” said the organization’s Marlon Bertram, adding he was still processing the news.

“One of the fundamental purposes of media is to identify truth and show truth…. When they fail to do that they are compromising their own purpose and their fundamental reason for being.”

CHBC will still run other ads for Right to Life, though they will be less graphic than the ones that have prompted those of both pro-life and pro-choice camps to flood the organization’s email inbox with commentary.

“Most emails were overwhelmingly in favour of showing the ad,” said Bertram of Kelowna Right to Life. “We received a number of comments saying (the ad) was not graphic, it was well done and even beautiful.”

Though the commercial offers disturbing imagery,  Bertram said it was done in a tasteful manner that presents sympathy for the victims of abortion.

“Sometimes injustices can be presented in a way that they appeal to our humanity, in a way that can be described as beautiful,” said Bertram, adding he wasn’t surprised that what some found beautiful, others found excessive.

“I know when these images are shown they recognize this is a horrific act they are looking at and that can be difficult.”

The ads were designed by a group called New York Priests for Life, and it was modified for the Okanagan market.

CHBC was contacted, and a representative said the station would release information on the matter later this week.

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11 Responses to “Update: CHBC manager says controversial anti-abortion ad pulled before it ever aired”

  1. Annette Loeffen says:
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    As usual media has once again shown its bias – how will people ever truly know what abortion actually does, without getting the opportunity to see the reality of it? Abortion is ugly. Abortion is cruel. Abortion kills. That’s the reality. The campaign to end cruelty to animals is shown in graphic detail. Are animals more valuable than humans? Can we not at least allow fairness and balance in reporting the cruel facts of abortion? The debate won’t go away while millions of unborn babies pay the price of inconvenience. Please allow the public to at least get the opportunity to make an educated decision about what abortion is really all about.

  2. anon says:
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    Im sorry but I have seen these people holding these ads up at the side of the highway and was so so so very angry. Now, Im not anti abortion and Im not pro abortion. I believe that in a very few cases it is necessary whether it be for health reasons (mother or child) a result of a rape, or a very young girl who has been taken advantage of/raped. I do not agree with the women who repeatedly go back and use it as some kind of birth control or for lifestyle choices, im sorry but ‘Im too selfish for a baby, i havent enough money’ does not cut it with me….

    When I saw these people I was 12 weeks pregnant and had just found out I was having twins. It was a very high risk pregnancy and I was told that I could lose one or both of them. I saw these photos and was crying for the rest of the day. Thankfully the pregnancy was a success. Do these people not take into consideration the people who have lost a child… what do you think it does to them, seeing these pictures??? I understand you want to get your point across but follow the example of the people who patrol outside the hospital each week. I think I am right in saying that they are not the same people. They use words. They offer help. They dont stand at the side of the road holding graphic pictures. How does a mother explain to their 8 year old why there is a picture of a dead baby on a bill board???? Because its quite obvious what it is. I am in total agreement with banning this ad. Certainly, take the pictures in to a high school and give a talk on it (at my school we had a pro life talk one week and a anti abortion the next) but on the side of the road/on television you cannot control who sees it and it could potentially have extremely distressing results for sensitive people who may have lost a child or be too young to understand. It distressed me so much it was awful, and I was never intending on having an abortion, you hit the wrong people.

  3. james diamond says:
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    in your your school you had pro choice one week and anti abortion the next?

  4. J says:
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    It’s sad how they can play all sorts of sexually explicit commercials (and they think it’s ok) but they can’t play this one.

  5. Algore says:
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    When they stop killing babies, we’ll stop showing the pictures. Deal?

  6. lovelife says:
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    think about those babies. they were TORTURED to death and no one wants to know about it because it might “upset” or “disturb” someone else. my goodness.

  7. Sol O says:
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    Oh please you people. I could’ve had an older sibling had my mother not had an abortion, you don’t see me up in arms about the issue. As long as its before 5/6 months, later if its life threatening, I don’t see the issue.

    Using words like torture. While they may be alive their nervous system isn’t developed enough to feel pain like we do

  8. Algore says:
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    Sol O, you did have an older sibling. He/she is now dead, killed by abortion.

    You don’t see the issue? Killing innocent human beings is not an issue?

  9. anon says:
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    you are a strange bunch of people on here. I dont think you have any clue on how this type of image can affect the wrong person, you obviously dont have children or have never lost a child yourselves. You cannot see the wood through the trees. Worldwide, 1 in 5 pregnancies end in abortion…and as many as 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage… therefore you need to target more specific groups as there is a wider audience out there who is going to be offended, or upset who dont need to be. Im not suggesting they stop doing what they are doing I am saying that it is not right showing this picture at the side of the road like they were when I saw them, in the same way its not right to show a graphic picture of a murdered child/adult or a mutilated animal at the side of the road or in an advert whilst watching tv… Im sure you would be the first to complain about that one,,, but hey, it might convince a would be murderer to think twice. Seriously, you think that kind of advertising works???? They are harping on about the life of that unborn feotus then totally disrespecting his life by sticking him up on posters.

    When I was 16 (the age of consent in the UK…. they figured if we are old enough to make decisions to have sex we were old enough to cope with a talk like this… if we didnt want to go we didnt have to) we had someone come in and give a ’sensitive’ talk on abortion. Then about a week or so later a pro life advocate came in and explained the other options to abortion and showed us similar photos but not so graphic… i.e an aborted feotus but without the severed arm etc. As a result I personally would never have an abortion… its stuck with me and I am now 30.

    You need to get a perspective on things.

  10. david says:
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    Studies show that banning abortion does not significantly affect abortion rates. What it does do, however, is greatly increase the number of women who are hurt, because without access to safe abortion, they choose unsafe alternatives.

    I consider myself pro-life. But I also live in the reality-based world. And in reality, banning abortion is far, far worse than keeping it safe.

  11. shaqueattack says:
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    Again if these pro-abortionist are ok with the killing of babies then why would these images disturb them? It is just tissue to them…They see much worse at the movies, on tv etc…Quit your griping you pro abortionists..If it is nothing to you then the images should be aired!

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link