Wednesday, 22 December 2010


I was rather taken when I first saw this Christmas Advert. It did not occur to me in any way whatsoever that it had an overt or covert pro life message and I was surprised when I heard complaints that this was the intention. After all, Christmas is about a  miraculous conception and joy at a baby's birth, isn't it?!
A friend who is an atheist, but very accepting of people of faith and very positive about my faith, mentioned this advert recently and said that she had immediately drawn the conclusion that it was pro life propaganda and found it offensive. She said she particularly worried about the emotional effect of this type of Christmas message on women who had had terminations.
I did a bit of reading around and, as far as I can see, the advert is not intended in that way. I personally cannot see why an ultrasound scan of a baby in the womb should be  automatically construed as designed to make women who have had terminations feel guilty, and I would be very surprised if any  mainstream Christian group or church would want to target such women in this way as a Christmas message.

But the strength of my friend's reaction made me wonder if I was wrong? Or if it tells us something about the assumptions that are made about Christians - perhaps that the message we wish to convey (at Christmas and generally) is more about guilt and blame than love and redemption?


  1. You weren't wrong. It's supposed to evoke the excitement felt by an expectant parent.
    The idea that it is "pro-life" was put about about by the NSS in one of their ridiculous publicity campaigns, which just goes to show how detached from reality they have become. Or are all expectant mothers to be banned from feeling excited in case they offend those senstitive souls at the NSS?

  2. I really like the advert and think it helps underline the reality of the incarnation. I do think the NSS seem to peddle that rather arid brand of atheism that we increasinly see.

    Glad it isn't just me being weird then!

  3. I like it too. But I can see why your friend reacted like that. I can remember when the whimsically named SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children - the acronym actually sounds like the baddies from Man From UNCLE) plastered the London Underground and other places with scan photos, to campaign against abortion. These negative campaigns leave such a long shadow.

    Iffy Vicar

  4. Maybe it is a throwback to that campaign, which I don't remember and maybe other pro life groups do use scan pictures. I haven't looked at much of their stuff really.

  5. This is an English campaign. In England the "pro-life" movement is so low key that its imagery hasn't become part of our culture's symbolism. It would be very possible for a group of English people to come up with this design without it even crossing their minds that it could be construed as anti-abortion.

  6. I've no idea whether this ad was cenceived by British pro-lifers, but when it came out (last year?) the pro-life campaign leapt on it, and as a pro-lifer I congratulate them for doing so. Perhaps the ultrasound is a reference to the US, where pro-life organisations have "ultrasound vans" where women going to abortion clinics can see the humanity of the person they are carrying. Thank God.

  7. I would never describe myself as pro-life, althought I recognise the complexity of this issue. I don't agree with women being required to see an ultrasound before a termination, it is a different matter if they are offered this choice.
    But I think it sad that an ultrasound image is automatically seen as pro-life (a picture of a newborn, or a pregnancy test, or a doctor, or a pregnant woman isn't?) - but it may be to do with campaigns in the US.

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