February 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ads featuring graphic abortion pictures reached thousands of Superbowl viewers on Sunday, even though the ads were blocked from the airwaves in at least one location.
Creator Randall Terry is running for president on the Democratic ticket in order to be able to air such ads. Federal regulations require television stations to air political ads from candidates unedited. Two other pro-lifers, Angela Michael and David Lewis are also running for public office in order to run the ads.
Terry’s ads featured several images of children who had lost their lives to abortions, some of them appearing only around 7-8 weeks’ gestation. (The ads can be viewed here.)
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The graphic ads, which also ran earlier this year in eight states to coincide with GOP campaign events, were rejected last month by NBC affiliates in Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, and Chicago.
After the NBC affiliates refused to air the ads, Terry appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), arguing that the stations’ refusal was “a content-driven exclusion, and is therefore forbidden” under FCC rules.
However, the federal commission ruled Friday that broadcasters were exempt from the requirement to sell airtime to candidates near or during the Super Bowl, the most-watched event on television annually in the U.S.
The head of the FCC’s Media Bureau also ruled that it was reasonable for Chicago’s WMAQ to bar the ads because “Terry did not make a substantial showing that he is a legally qualified candidate entitled to reasonable access to broadcast stations in Illinois.”
Although Terry is running as a Democratic candidate for the White House, the WMAQ’s rationale relied on a statement from the head of the Democratic National Committee addressed to NBC affiliates, which claimed Terry was not a “legally qualified candidate” in some jurisdictions because he did not meet standards for the Democratic nomination in those jurisdictions.
In a statement Saturday reacting to the FCC ruling, Terry said that at least 15 stations in seven states were scheduled to run pro-life Super Bowl ads in pre-game shows, during the Super Bowl, or in News Broadcasts after the game.
Pro-life journalist Jill Stanek reports that Terry would not reveal in exactly which locations the ads were scheduled to appear for fear of further interference from the Democratic party. Attempts to reach Terry today were unsuccessful.
On Saturday Terry pointed out that the FCC’s ruling about his status as a candidate only applied to Illinois: “Because David Lewis, Angela Michael, and I are on the ballot in other states, we are de facto ‘Legally Qualified Candidates,’ which is why the stations are proceeding to run our ads.”
“We say to our political enemies, and to those who promote the murder of babies, that we will continue to run these ads across the country in primary season and in the general election where we are on the ballot. Our intention is to make child killing the number one political issue of the election this year,” he said.
David Lewis, who is running for the House of Representatives against John Boehner in Ohio, successfully aired his ad attacking Boehner and showing graphic images of abortion in Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati. The ad by Angela Michael, also running for the U.S. House, reportedly aired in St. Louis, Missouri.
All three candidates have placed comment boxes on their websites to collect responses to the ads, where viewers posted very positive and very negative responses.
“I have a son that was born at 21 weeks. I treasure the one and only photo I have of him. I despise all of you pro-lifers that choose to use these photos to further push your views on everyone,” wrote one viewer.
Another wrote: “Anonymous called you disgusting and Haywood says you are sick and disgusting. The question for them is, which is the most disgusting, the showing of the picture or the actual process of tearing apart babies and throwing them in a dumpster?”
Candidate Angela Michael appeared to post in her own combox to report that a pregnant college student called her hours after the Super Bowl to say the ad had changed her mind against a scheduled abortion.