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October 18, 2018

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Family planning advocacy group says R-J shunned ads

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These are copies of the two ads that the Population Connection Action Fund said were turned down by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Ads for an advocacy group promoting safe family planning practices and criticizing President Donald Trump ran in newspapers across the country recently but were turned away by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The ads from Population Connection Action Fund were pulled by newspaper management after the content disapproving of Trump’s decision to reinstate and expand the global gag rule was revealed, said Brian Dixon, senior vice president of media and government relations for the group.

The ads read in bold letters “Family Planning Saves Lives; Trump’s Global Gag Rule is Killing Women.” The ads also state that the global gag rule would lead to more maternal deaths and unsafe abortions.

The global gag rule, which is also known as the Mexico City policy, requires any foreign nongovernmental group that wants to take U.S. money for any of its health activities to first promise not to “promote abortion as a method of family planning.”

The Review-Journal didn’t return an email seeking comment.

“Newspapers ought to be challenging authority,” Dixon said. “The content was completely legitimate, right. We called out the policy for being a harmful policy, we talked about what it did, we talked about the harm it was causing. It ran in every other newspaper; every other newspaper we did it in was fine with it, and we ran it in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Colorado and Arizona. Only in Las Vegas did the Review-Journal say no, and it seems obvious that they didn’t want to run an ad that was critical of their dear leader.”

The Population Connection Action Fund, a grassroots group based in Washington, is advocating passage of the Global Health Empowerment and Rights Act, more commonly referred to as the HER act, which would ensure health clinics would continue to get support without being restrained by the gag policy.

“In much of the developing world, unsafe abortion remains a serious health crisis. Some 47,000 girls and women die every year as a result of unsafe abortion,” Dixon said. “You can’t really have a serious conversation about women’s health without talking about unsafe abortion.”

The group has published ads in nine cities in a $55,000 campaign. Dixon says the Review-Journal is the lone media outlet that wouldn’t accept its ad. As of Feb. 6, the newspaper’s management received more than 1,400 emails to complain about the refusal, Dixon said.

Instead, the group delivered its message in the Las Vegas market via a mobile billboard driving through town for eight hours on Jan. 23. Its route included the Trump International Hotel, Sen. Dean Heller’s local office and the Review-Journal.

The ads are only one aspect of the group’s initiative. It plans to start a movement in Las Vegas this spring to encourage local officials to vote for passage of the HER act.

“If you can’t change their minds, we go to change their seats,” Dixon said. “Let voters know where their people stand so there’s accountability.”

Dixon encouraged those wanting to get involved with the campaign to visit iwillfight4her.org or text “fight “to 52886.

The Las Vegas Sun is interested in reviewing any other ads that the Las Vegas Review-Journal rejects. If you know of any, email us at [email protected].

[email protected] / 702-990-2416 / @CamalotTodd.