NBC has rejected a pro-life ad for the Super Bowl, citing its policy not to run ads involving "political advocacy or issues."
The 30-second television spot, a project of CatholicVote.org and financed by The Fidelis Center for Law & Policy, actually emerged just before the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, explains there is nothing objectionable in its "life-affirming" message, which features ultrasound pictures of a baby in a mother’s womb.
"The ad actually sparked so much interest, and we started getting e-mails and calls from people who saw the ad [and] wanted to try to put it on the air," says Burch. "And given the time of year that we’re at, there began a campaign to put it on the Super Bowl."
Burch says his organization signed a contract with NBC to air the spot, and they were extremely happy — "Until we were informed that NBC, in conjunction with the NFL, was rejecting our ad because it was a political or issue ad," Burch states, "and they said they have a policy against it."
The CatholicVote.org spokesman points out in a press statement that NBC appears to be inconsistent in applying its "no advocacy ads" policy. He notes the network rejected an ad produced by PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — because of its suggestive sexual content.
"There’s no doubt that PETA is an advocacy group," argues Burch. "NBC rejected PETA’s ad for another reason altogether. Our ad is far less provocative, and hardly controversial by comparison."
He respects NBC’s decision but says his group’s pro-life ad is not divisive or confrontational and is not really political. It simply asks people to imagine the potential of every human life.
"And particularly one person’s human life — which I won’t give it away. You’ll have to watch the ad," he says.
The 30-second ad can be viewed at CatholicVote.org.