NBC Apologizes to Planned Parenthood for Censoring Pro-Abortion Movie Ad 'Obvious Child'

Jun 25, 2014 04:24 PM EDT
Planned Parenthood began a petition against NBC for refusing to air ads for the movie "Obvious Child" which included the word "abortion." In response,the network confessed in a statement to Planned Parenthood that “feedback was mistakenly given to remove the word ‘abortion’" and that such actions were not “company policy.”
A scene from the pro-abortion film ''Obvious Child.'' (AP)

NBC has apologized to Planned Parenthood after the organization blasted the network for declining to air an advertisement for "Obvious Child," a film in which the word "abortion" is mentioned.

"The vast majority of American support access to safe and legal abortion, and they do not see the mere mention of 'abortion' as inappropriate on network television," said PPAF President Cecile Richards in the original statement as reported by The Hill. "It's far past time that we had an honest conversation around the lack of honest portrayals of women's lives in film and media."

"Obvious Child" is described as an off-beat romantic comedy in which the main character gets an abortion after she discovers she is pregnant after a one night stand. NBC allegedly refused to air an ad for the film, as it included the word "abortion."

Planned Parenthood, which originally touted the movie as a "hilarious and honest story, about one young woman [and her] decision to have an abortion," lashed back at NBC, promoting a petition criticizing the network for what it described as "censorship."

"It's been more than 40 years since abortion was legalized - it's about time television caught up. If you agree, add your name to our letter to NBC now," read the petition, which garnered 12,000 signatures.

Besides the petition, a Twitter hashtag, championed by Girls' Lena Dunham, emerged to pressure NBC to #StoptheStigma.

In response, NBCUniversal quickly released a statement to Planned Parenthood, saying they had made a "mistake" in failing to air the commercial.

"NBCUniversal has no policy against accepting ads that include the word "abortion." Several ad proposals for Obvious Child were submitted to our television broadcast standards group for review, and, consistent with NBCUniversal policy and practice, no direction was given to remove references to the word "abortion," it stated.

"Our digital platforms will accept the ad as it was originally submitted," the statement continued.

Planned Parenthood, whose New Rochelle, New York clinic is shown in Obvious Child, said the move was a "huge step forward in the work towards more honesty about women and abortion in TV and movies."

However, Pro-life observers in the US have criticized Obvious Child, which won the Red Crown Producer's Award at January's Sundance film festival, for dealing with the abortion issue in the form of a comedy. "The feminist film critics can exhale now. Someone has finally concocted their dream movie," wrote Brent Bozell of Townhall.com earlier this month. "Because apparently nothing sounds funnier than an unplanned one-night stand and a courageous destruction of God's most beautiful and most innocent creation."

Newsbusters' Katie Yoder agreed, writing that the film is "little more than slick pro-abortion agitprop."

"Yes, I empathized for (the protagonist) Donna, felt her situation. But, at the same time, the movie forgets to voice women who choose life - and women who choose abortion. The 'comedy' makes a joke out of women who go through a difficult decision to abort and ignores regrets of women who do. They exist," she wrote. "At one point, Donna's dad stresses that 'creative energy sometimes comes from the lowest part of your life' and that 'living is the best revenge.' Very true. That is, if living is an option - for the not-so-obvious child."