“It’s a fact,” the ad begins. “Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion business. Nearly a million abortions in the last three years. Its executives were caught on tape bragging about selling baby body parts. Under federal investigation, Planned Parenthood spent $30 million last election on political activism — not women’s health care.”
WTOP initially agreed to run the ad, which was paid for by the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA), and placed it on the air for about two-thirds of its paid run-time. The radio station changed its tune, however, after getting negative feedback from listeners, and asked the Susan B. Anthony List to provide a less inflammatory edited version for the remainder of the ad’s run time. The group refused, and the ad was pulled.
The ad ends with a call on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect those funds to community health centers that do not provide abortions. But at issue in the dispute between WTOP and the pro-life group was the use of the term “bragging” in the description of the fetal harvesting scandal. The Susan B. Anthony List refused to change “bragging” to “discussing.”
“People are complaining like crazy over the SBA ads,” a WTOP representative said in an email reported by The Washington Free Beacon. “Can you get them to forward you the backup (article etc.) for the discussing sale of aborted fetus parts ascertain.” And in a later email, the representative reportedly asked whether it’s “possible to get new copy that reads ‘discussing’ rather than ‘bragging.’”
WTOP Station Manager Joel Oxley disputed SBA’s account of the dispute, telling The Free Beacon the decision was not a result of listener feedback, but of criticism from station management: “In our view, ‘bragging’ constituted a subjective characterization while the word ‘discussing’ is an objective statement of ‘fact.’”
SBA labeled the station “shameful” in a statement announcing the decision to pull the ad, and quickly started a fundraising campaign to get the ad out on other stations.
“This regrettable response to our radio spot on one of the lead topics in the current national debate is shameful for a First Amendment institution like WTOP,” SBA President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood speaks boldly of its pride in performing more abortions than any other entity in the United States and packaging the body parts of these aborted children for profitable use. Those are the facts, however uncomfortable they may be for some to hear.”
The Center for Medical Progress began releasing a series of videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s dealings in aborted fetuses the summer of 2015, releasing embarrassing tapes obtained undercover of top executives discussing fetal harvesting. Congress is moving to defund the organization in 2017, after President Barack Obama vetoed a similar measure last year.
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