Peter Baklinski

Advertising Standards Council slams pro-life ad

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island, December 19, 2012, ( – The PEI Right to Life Association is not backing down after the Advertising Standards Council (ASC) gave a negative ruling about its full-page newspaper ad informing islanders of the many ways abortion “harms women”.

“I believe that the complaint was made to the ASC, because our ad was so effective and so well done that the opposition was concerned that it would convince a lot of people to think twice about being pro-choice,” Ann Marie Tomlins, spokesperson of the PEI Right to Life Association, told

The ad, appearing in the Charlottetown Guardian in October, featured a beautiful woman wearing a form-fitting white sweater that showcased her pregnant belly. “Love them Both,” the title stated.

The ad provided a variety of facts and figures about how abortion negatively affects women. It also outlined various ways that politicians, schools, doctors, and “pro-woman advocates” could help create a culture of life.

The ASC deemed three statements made in the ad by the pro-life association to be inaccurate:

1) “Abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life”;
2) “The present legal vacuum does nothing more than permit abortion on demand”; and
3) “There is strong evidence linking abortion to breast cancer”.

Joyce Arthur’s Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada quickly claimed victory.

“To refute the claims, the Council cited ‘credible, authoritative medical reports’ for #1, the CMA’s [Canadian Medical Association] policy on induced abortion for #2, and the Canadian Cancer Society’s position for #3,” the pro-abortion group stated on its Facebook page.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

Tomlins said that her organization is standing behind its statements. “I think that this is an attempt to discredit us because they’re afraid that we’ll do more ads,” she said.

Tomlins was not surprised by the ASC ruling, pointing out that the ASC has a history of ruling against pro-life organizations who reveal the truth about abortion through ads.

A search through ASC’s database for complaints against pro-life ads resulted in six cases since 2008, all of which were rulings against pro-life organizations running pro-life ads.

In a 2010 complaint against Regina Pro-Life for running an ad on a city bus that read “Abortion. The Ultimate Child Abuse,” the ASC ruled that it was “incorrect and inappropriate to equate a legal medical procedure with extreme child abuse”.

“Council found, therefore, that the unqualified claim made in the advertisement was untrue,” the group stated. “Council also found that equating abortion with extreme child abuse, as in this advertisement, both demeaned and disparaged women who have had abortions, thereby bringing them into public contempt”.

In October of this year, the ASC ruled against Alliance For Life Ontario for being “misleading” and “demean[ing] and denigrat[ing to] women” in its pro-life TV commercial. The commercial stated that Canada has “tolerated 43 years of abortion” that has resulted in “3.5 million missing children, teens and young adults”.

Tomlins said that the claims in her organization’s newspaper ad are verifiable.

1) “Abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life”.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Charles Everett Koop called abortion to protect the life of a mother a “smoke screen”.

“In my 36 years of pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life,” he wrote. “If toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, the doctor will either induce labor or perform a Caesarian section. His intention is to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby’s life is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”

An international group of 140 obstetricians and other physicians meeting in Dublin in September of this year issued a statement confirming that abortion is never “medically necessary” for women.

“As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology,” the declaration said, “we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman”.

2) “The present legal vacuum does nothing more than permit abortion on demand”.

In 1988 — following the legal challenges by Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the operator of an illegal abortion clinic in Quebec — the Supreme Court of Canada struck down section 251 of the Criminal Code that governed abortion, declaring it unconstitutional. This effectively left Canada without any law on abortion, allowing the procedure to be legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, up till the moment of birth.

3) “There is strong evidence linking abortion to breast cancer”.

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons published a study in 2007 by Patrick Carroll, M.A. titled “The Breast Cancer Epidemic,” which stated that among seven risk factors, abortion is the “best predictor of breast cancer”.

In 2009, Chinese researchers at the Department of Oncology at the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University found a 17 percent increased risk of breast cancer among women who had experienced induced abortions.

A study conducted by Dr. Vahit Ozmen at the Istanbul University Medical Faculty in 2009 reported a 66 percent increase risk of breast cancer among women who had experienced induced abortions. The researchers wrote that their finding is similar to the findings of the “majority” of studies, which have “reported that induced abortion was associated with increased breast cancer risk”.

Tomlins told LifeSiteNews that she plans to appeal the ASC decision.


Advertising Standards Canada
175 Bloor Street East,
South Tower, Suite 1801
Toronto, ON M4W 3R8
Phone: (416) 961-6311

Linda J. Nagel, President and CEO
Phone: (416) 961-7904 (ext) 222
Nagel’s online e-mail form.

Janet Feasby, Vice-President, Standards
Phone: (416) 961-7904 (ext) 243
Feasby’s online e-mail form.

Share this article

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

Share this article

Featured Image
Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

Share this article

Featured Image
A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

, ,

‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

Share this article


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook