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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

November-17-04

NC Public Radio Station Bars Ad with the Phrase "Reproductive Rights"

A North Carolina public radio station refused to run an underwriting announcement as it was submitted by Ipas, an international women’s rights and health organization, because it contained the phrase “reproductive rights.” Citing fear of being fined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the radio station, WUNC-FM, maintained that use of the phrase could be construed as an endorsement of abortion, the Boston Globe reports. WUNC-FM insisted that if the advertisement were to be run, the original wording would have to be replaced with “reproductive health.”

Anu Kumar, executive vice president of Ipas, told the Associated Press, “‘Reproductive rights’ is not a euphemism for abortion. Among other things, it means the right to infertility treatments, the right to contraception, the right to information, the right to live free of rape and violence…‘Reproductive health’ doesn’t convey all of that. It’s important to say that our work is about rights as well as health.”

Joan Siefert Rose, the general manager of the WUNC-FM, said that the FCC does not allow public radio stations to air advertisements that advocate political, social, or religious causes. Because there is no list of forbidden terms, Rose explained to the Associated Press, “The only way to find out if you’ve stepped over the line is if someone challenges it and the FCC issues a fine. So we are always pretty conservative in interpreting the announcements we make.”

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Media Resources: Associated Press 11/11/04; Boston Globe 11/17/04; Philadelphia Daily News 11/17/04


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