By Samuel Katz
The“iCare” advertising supplement that was in the October 8 issue of The Statesman has circulated through campus stirring controversy along the way. Many have expressed concern about the contents of the ad and judging from the multiple responses released by The Statesman. On October 25, The Statesman defended the publishing of the ad calling it “a clearly labeled ‘advertising supplement.’”
“When this organization approached the advertising department, staff carefully reviewed the pamphlet and considered its potential impact on Statesman readers before agreeing to run it,” the statement read.
On October 28th senior Meghan Shalvoy decided to go a step further to oppose the controversial newspaper insert and get students to sign a petition demanding that The Statesman refuse such advertisements in the future. Joined by professors Kelliann Flores and Ritch Calvin from the Women’s and Gender Studies department at Stony Brook, Shlavoy set up a table at the Sprit Lounge in the Stony Brook Union to inform students about the misleading facts of the ad. Amongst the papers given out by Shalvoy were refutations of many of the ‘‘scientific’’ claims made in the “iCare” supplement. With quotes from the World Health Organization and the Journal of the American Medical Association pointing to false claims made in the ”iCare” supplement, Shalvoy called the ad, “sensational [and] clearly promoting an agenda.”
Shalvoy says that the response to the petition has so far been positive. “The only negative response I get is from claims of freedom of press,” she said. “Publications on campus should have more respect for their community. This is advertising of a specific agenda. This is not science.”
Expressing her concern about the ads, Flores said the ad was false in the information it presented. “You have to look closely to see that it is not an ad,” Flores said. Professor Calvin added that the risk of such advertisement is that it creates a hostile environment for students who might choose to have an abortion. Ads like these, he said, make students feel silenced and judged.
“[Abortion] is a difficult decision, too often the element of choice doesn’t show up in the literature. It’s not anti-child; it’s about choice,” Flores said.
Shalvoy points out that the Long Island Life Center, which advertises weekly in The Statesman, is with a similar anti-choice agenda. And the resources those places claim to provide are available for students on campus through the Student Health Center and the University Counseling Center.
The Statesman said that it carefully reviewed the pamphlet and considered the potential impact on Statesman readers before agreeing to run it, but Shalvoy points out, this is a question of integrity. “Not only is it dishonorable to disseminate such biased and sensational information,” Shalvoy said, “it is potentially harmful to the health of its readers.”
To find out more about the petition you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.