Rebecca Millette


Billboard company says baby photo ‘shocking, unsettling,’ rejects pro-life ad

Rebecca Millette

NEW JERSEY, April 8, 2011 ( – A billboard company has rejected pro-life ads that were sponsored by the New Jersey pro-life group Life Education Council, requesting that the pro-life group remove a photo of a baby from the ad, because the image “might be deemed shocking, unsettling or even manipulative.”

Life Education Council (LEC) signed and paid a contract with CBS Outdoor billboard company last fall, reports Jill Stanek.  The pro-life ad first submitted showed an adult’s hand grasping a child’s, with the words “Take my hand, not my life … Abortion Kills Babies.”  CBS cashed LEC’s $1000 check, but contacted the pro-life organization to let them know the sign would need to be changed.

On November 1, CBS’s executive assistant Dianne Curry phoned CBS, telling them the artwork was rejected because some people do not believe “abortion kills babies,” reported the pro-life organization.  Curry suggested replacing “Abortion Kills Babies” with “Life Education Council Can Help.” 

LEC decided that in good conscience they could not change the ad.  For over 5 years, LEC had displayed the ad along the New Jersey Turnpike in a contract with Clear Channel.  The pro-life group had decided to switch to CBS for the advantages of lower costs and space in other areas.

“CBS permits a wide variety of commercial, noncommercial, public-service, public-issue, political, and religious advertisements on its billboards,” including ads from atheists, LEC pointed out.  The group cites an ad that states, “A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?”

Previously, CBS also had a contract with Georgia Right to Life to display billboards with the face of a black child and the words, “Black Children are an endangered species” and directing viewers to

LEC chose a different ad that they had used previously and sent it to CBS. The ad had a picture of a young baby and the words, “Abortion: A Woman’s ‘Right to Choose’ vs. A Baby’s Right to Live.”

Diane Curry of CBS responded, November 18, “The artwork you sent me yesterday, will be approved by Corporate once the baby picture is taken out. Please have it revised, and forward the revision back to me.”

When questioned on the removal of the baby, CBS sent a statement to LEC saying that while they accept ads for “pro choice” and “right to life” groups, LEC’s message “is a potentially emotional topic that might be unduly disturbing to young women who may have made the kinds of choices that the displays deal with.”

“Therefore, the accepted copy cannot include images which might be deemed shocking, unsettling or even manipulative,” wrote CBS’s corporate office.  The company insisted that if LEC “would just get rid of the baby picture, the advertisement may run.”

LEC is currently suing CBS Outdoor for “free speech and equal protection violations,” according to Courthouse News Service.  The pro-life group, represented by Jennifer Jack of South Toms River, New Jersey, is seeking an injunction, $7,500 for lost donations, and a two-year billboard ad covered by CBS.

To Contact CBS:

Jodi Senese, Executive Vice-President of Marketing
Phone: 1-800-926-8834
Email: [email protected]

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