Aborted Fetuses: The Awkward Guests at Your Super Bowl Party

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

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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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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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