Aborted Fetuses: The Awkward Guests at Your Super Bowl Party

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/32317636@N02/5429422417/">Seth Carlson</a>/Flickr


Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry has been running graphic ads of aborted fetuses in key primary states, as my colleague Tim Murphy has reported. Now the gruesome ads are coming to the Super Bowl.

Nothing says “pass the dip” like a bloody fetus. Normally, Terry wouldn’t be able to get these kinds of ads on television. So he’s launching a non-serious campaign for president (running as a Democratic challenger to President Obama) in order to exploit a loophole in Federal Communications Commission rules that requires station to run campaign ads in the weeks ahead of a primary election—no matter how grisly they might be. In the 45 days ahead of a primary and 60 days ahead of a general election, candidates for federal office can run whatever they want on local stations, as long as they pay for the airtime.

Yes, the FCC can try to fine you a half-million dollars for a “wardrobe malfunction,” but bundles of bloody body parts is A-okay.

Terry can’t, however, force the networks to run his ads nationally, as Jezebel points out. So if you live in a state that doesn’t have a primary within 45 days of the Superbowl, you can enjoy your nachos without looking at fetal body parts. (Which, it’s probably worth pointing out, are from late-term abortions; the vast majority of abortions take place in the first trimester.) But if you live in a Super Tuesday state or any of the others voting in February or early March, be prepared. The Greeley Gazette writes that Terry and his group have ads “ready to go” in 40 markets.

At least this means Miller’s “Man Up” ads won’t be the most offensive thing on your TV this Super Bowl.

Update: A Chicago NBC station has balked at running Terry’s ad. Meanwhile, here are some of the cities where viewers can still expect to see one of the ads during the Super Bowl festivities, according to Terry:

During the pre-game show: Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; St. Louis, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma

During the game: Ada, Oklahoma; Grand Junction, Colorado; Joplin, Missouri; Paducah, Kentucky; Springfield, Missouri

To watch the ad, click here. Warning: It contains extremely graphic images of dead fetuses.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.