By Joy McEntee
Hobart — Five churches in the Hobart suburb of Moonah, where the state's only independent abortion clinic is located, have mounted an inter-denominational roster of weekly prayer meetings for mothers and unborn children.
Tasmania's anti-choice group, the Human Life Protection Society, has allied with the churches to exploit the special advertising provisions for religious organisations. Commercial television stations are obliged to donate a portion of their air time, free of charge, to religious programming.
TVT 6, one of only two stations available to Hobart viewers, has been showing the anti-choice movement's advertisement for the prayer meetings between five times a week and five times a night for several months.
The group's literature disavows any political program, favouring a spiritual, conscientious approach to abortion. However, it is spending $12,000 a year on changing people's hearts, and has exported the ad to New Zealand.
This media campaign may become a major challenge to the pro-choice movement, which lacks the financial means to compete in the mainstream media. The role of the independent media will become more important than ever in the effort to increase women's real choices.