Friday, January 13, 2006

Ads Are Getting Attention

Another example of "Free Speech for Me but not for Thee", courtesy of Code Pink on today's Contra Costa Times website:

Abortion rights supporters are angry with Bay Area Rapid Transit for allowing anti-abortion ads to run in its transit trains and stations.

The ads attack the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision and ask: "Abortion: Have we gone too far?" Many have been ripped down or defaced, and some passengers have called BART to complain.

"I think every woman has noticed them," Suzanne Joi, a member of Code Pink, a social justice and anti-war group, said Thursday. "I couldn't believe BART would allow something like this. Why are they doing this?"

Ads began appearing the day after Christmas. BART officials said 280 of the ads appear in BART's rail cars and 48 larger versions are displayed in stations.

BART officials said the ads are permitted under the First Amendment.

The Respect Life Ministry of the Oakland Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church paid $43,200 for the ads, scheduled for display through the end of January. Supporters are asking for extra display time to compensate for vandalism.

Why is BART allowing this Ms. Joi? Because BART doesn't care where the money comes from. Because, as long as the ad is not pornographic or offensive, BART will run it. It's a Freedom of Speech issue. Not everyone shares your opinion. And guess what? We are free to disagree with you. And we can publish our opinion or run ads asking the questions we feel (or in this case, the Respect Life Committee of the Diocese of Oakland feels) that our society needs to be asking.

This morning there were a couple of "Man on the Street" interviews at one of the BART stations. No one seemed offended. In fact, one man said that the ads were asking good questions.

So the campaign is effective. And, thank you, Ms. Joi for bringing even more publicity. Some who would not have noticed might actually start looking for these ads and reading them. Without your protest, Ms. Joi, they never would have noticed them at all.