• Petitioned Stephen B. Burke (CEO NBCUniversal)

This petition was delivered to:

CEO NBCUniversal
Stephen B. Burke (CEO NBCUniversal)

Tell NBC that Abortion is Not a Dirty Word

    1. Petition by

      NARAL Pro-Choice New York

One in three women in America will have an abortion. Yet, it’s rare that abortion gets addressed in film or on television. When it does, it’s often portrayed in a veiled manner or treated only as a tragic circumstance.

The film “Obvious Child” challenges all of that. Its heroine is a Brooklyn comic who gets pregnant after a one-night stand and decides to have an abortion. It’s a groundbreaking film that’s being recognized for its courage and humor in dealing with abortion head-on.

But NBC has refused to run ads for the film, including the one above, that say the word “abortion.” Despite the fact that abortion is a legal medical procedure that is both common and safe, NBC seems to want to censor the word “abortion.”  According to media reports, other networks “had no problem airing an ad that included the word ‘abortion’ in it.”  At a time when access to abortion is being restricted through deceptive and biased legislation, the film’s honest and forthright treatment of this legal and safe medical procedure deserves to be seen.

Sign the petition! Tell NBC that “abortion” is not a dirty word. NBC should not represent the latest front in the attack against safe and legal abortion by stigmatizing the word and banishing it from the airwaves. It is time for NBC to change its policy about using the word abortion.


Stephen B. Burke (CEO NBCUniversal), CEO NBCUniversal
One in three women in America will have an abortion in her lifetime. The film “Obvious Child” addresses abortion head-on in a way that no film before has done. It breaks new ground, yet NBC has refused to run its ads. “Abortion” is not a dirty word. NBC needs to change its policy banning the word “abortion” from its airwaves.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 590 signatures
    2. Thank You!

      Thank you for signing our petition to “Tell NBC that Abortion is Not a Dirty Word”! Because of pro-choice supporters like you, NBCUniversal issued the following statement acknowledging their mistake.

      "NBCUniversal has no policy against accepting ads that include the word “abortion.” Several ad proposals for “Obvious Child” were submitted to our television broadcast standards group for review, and, consistent with NBCUniversal policy and practice, no direction was given to remove references to the word “abortion.” Ultimately, no final ad was submitted or purchased for television broadcast.

      Separately, an online ad was submitted for digital placement and feedback was mistakenly given to remove the word “abortion.” That is not company policy and we are currently reviewing our ad standards processes to ensure they are consistent across all platforms moving forward.

      Our digital platforms will accept the ad as it was originally submitted."

      Admitting that they made a mistake is a huge step – our hope is that next time NBC will not be so cavalier about rejecting mentions of the word “abortion.”

      Sign up now to stay informed about the latest attacks on reproductive rights and NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s proactive efforts to improve access to reproductive health care and break down the stigma associated with abortion by emailing our Grassroots Organizer, Emily Zahn, at ezahn@prochoiceny.org.

      Thank you again for your support!

      For Choice,

      NARAL Pro-Choice New York

    3. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • 4 months ago

      Mainstream cinema largely ignores what happens to 1/3 of women. Its time to end the stigma.

    • Molly Farrell COLUMBUS, OH
      • 4 months ago

      This is ridiculous.

    • Cheryl Moland COLUMBUS, OH
      • 4 months ago

      I'm a woman.

    • Ellen Carey NEW YORK, NY
      • 4 months ago

      Because I am a woman and I have a daughter. My Mother worked very hard with NOW to give women the right to choose abortion. I am appalled that that we are going backwards on this fundamental right. The woman at NBC should be ashamed of themselves. I will no longer be watching and NBC programs or buying any products that advertise on NBC.

    • Jessie Levey WEST PARK, NY
      • 4 months ago

      Abortion is a choice that women should be supported in making if that is what they think is best. There is no reason that the word should be shunned. This is NBC weak at the knees of the fundamentalist Christian right of this country. Shame on NBC- it should have more courage!


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