NEWS BRIEFS: MTV pulls pro-life ad

WASHINGTON (BP)--MTV pulled a pro-life commercial because of its partnership with abortion giant Planned Parenthood, according to the non-profit behind the advertisement.

Heroic Media -- a faith-based organization that seeks to reduce abortion by means of ads on television, billboards and the Internet -- said the sometimes controversial cable network barred the pro-life commercial after running it for a year. The non-profit based in Austin, Texas, uses advertising to link women to pro-life pregnancy help centers.

A MTV sales representative said the network's president, Stephen Friedman, decided to ban the pro-life commercial, according to a May 17 statement by Heroic Media. The network "was in the works with doing a partnership with Planned Parenthood and different opportunities with PSA's when [Friedman] decided that he did not want to run Heroic Media on MTV," the non-profit reported.

MTV Networks Senior Vice President Jeannie Kedas provided the following statement to Heroic Media: "Upon further review, it was hard for us to separate some of the recent tactics of the organization behind the ads themselves, so we have opted to not accept them for air at this time."

The Daily Mail reported a MTV spokesman said the decision was based on Heroic Media's close connection to a controversial billboard placed in New York City's Times Square by the organization Life Always. The billboard, which was removed in February after protests, said: "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb."

During 2009, 40,798 of the 87,273 abortions performed in New York City were on black women. There were only 27,405 live births to blacks during the same year, according to The New York Sun.

Speakers at benefit dinners for Heroic Media have been former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former model Kathy Ireland and talk radio's Laura Ingraham.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the country's leading abortion provider. Its affiliates reported more than 332,000 abortions in 2009.

SEX-SELECTION ABORTIONS IN INDIA COULD BE 12M -- As many as 12 million girls were victims of sex-selection abortions in India during the last 30 years, according to a new study.

In a report published in The Lancet, researchers estimated the selective abortion of female babies in India from 1980 to 2010 was between 4.2 million and 12.1 million. Using three surveys between 1990 and 2005, the study found the ratio of female second births when the first-born child is a girl fell from 906 per 1,000 boys to 836.

The study reported sex-selection abortions are occurring in families where the parents are more educated and more well off financially, according to Reuters News Service. Those parents are familiar with ultrasound technology that can test for sex in the womb and are able to pay for abortions.

"The preference for boys doesn't differ between rich and poor, it is similar," said Prabhat Jha, a professor at the Center of Global Health Research in Toronto and lead author of the study, Reuters reported. "But the means to ensure a boy is greater among the educated and the rich."

As in other Asian countries, there is a strong preference for boys in India.


Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.