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Daily Aztec Votes to Accept Abortion Ads

September 27, 1989|H.G. REZA | Times Staff Writer

The Daily Aztec, San Diego State University's student newspaper, will accept abortion advertisements under a revised advertising policy drafted by a committee of the publication's editors and managers.

The new policy, which was adopted on Monday by a vote of 5 to 2, will have to be approved by the SDSU Publications Authority next week before it is enacted. Meanwhile, the paper will continue the controversial ban of abortion-related ads.

The issue arose last month, when Editor-in-Chief Jon Petersen, acting on his own authority, decided that the newspaper would no longer accept advertisements for abortion-related services. Petersen, who opposes abortion, argued that abortion "oppresses the rights of the unborn," and that accepting the ads would be condoning an immoral act.

Petersen's decision led to dissent within the staff and protests from some community groups, including the Womancare Clinic. A campus pro-choice rally held last week demonstrated wide disagreement with the ban. Womancare called for a boycott by the newspaper's advertisers, and ad revenue began to decline.

An unsigned letter sent to the media by a group of writers at the student newspaper said that "almost all of the Aztec employees disagree with Petersen's policy." The letter, which was signed "a concerned group of writers," said there had been a "drastic decrease in ads."

The new ad policy actually features one word that was added to an already existing guideline. The policy says that an advertisement must "not serve primarily to advocate the oppression of the legal rights of a group or individual." The word "legal" was inserted into the old guideline.

Since abortion is legal, abortion ads would not be in violation of any group or individual's rights.

Under the proposed policy, political ads would have to include the name of the group or person who purchased the advertisements. Nudity would also be prohibited in ads, but the editor-in-chief would have the authority to decide what constitutes nudity.

Officials at Womancare declined to comment on the proposed policy.

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