The Stony Brook Statesman was noticeably thicker this week, and not in a good way.
The October 8 issue was stuffed with a 12-page, full color supplement from the Human Life Alliance, a pro-life organization based out of Minnesota. The pullout is made to look like a magazine, with propagandist articles displayed under headlines like “The Long Term Effects of Abortion.”
The Statesman News Editor Lauren Cioffi responded to the ad, and clarified the paper’s policy on advertisements.
“Editors are never informed of the advertising that will go in the issue they are publishing, until after the general manager makes the decisions, and the issue goes to print,” she said.
“The News department and advertising department are two separate entities of the paper and do not work together. To reject or accept advertisements based on what the ad represents- thoughts, companies and ideas- is unlawful,” Cioffi added.
Two student newspapers in Wisconsin refused to run the same supplement, entitled “icare…,” for fear of alienating students who might disagree with the message that the HLA sends. The University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point Pointer released a statement on the matter, saying, “we have a policy against advertising topics which have a tendency to cause conflict, shame or controversy among the student body.”
The leaflet covers every base imaginable. It attacks birth control as ineffective and dangerous; showcases testimonials from regretful teens; displays pictures of various stages of a pregnancy; it even tries to make a constitutional argument against abortions.
Most alarming, however, is the fear mongering conducted by the HLA. Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, one of the leaflet’s “experts,” argues that abortions are linked to breast cancer, an argument that has been rebuked time and again by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and dozens of studies conducted over the last few decades which show that there is no link between either spontaneous or induced abortions and breast cancer.
The Statesman, like many other large-scale university publications, uses advertising agencies to gather ads for each issue. The Human Life Alliance likely used one of these agencies to target campus publications. Alloy, one such agency that works with hundreds of campus publications including The Statesman, offers freestanding inserts like the one HLA distributed, though it’s unclear from exactly where this insert came from.
Stay with THiNK for all the latest on this story.