Pro-Life Group: NYC Subway Turned Down Our Ad

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - A pro-life group is accusing the New York City Metro Transit Authority and its advertising agency of violating the group's First Amendment rights by denying it ad space on New York subway trains and stations.

The American Life League has released information that it says shows TDI Worldwide, Inc., the advertising agency for the New York Metro Transit Authority, improperly rejected its advertisement because of its content.

The rejected ad, sponsored by ALL, depicts an 8-week old baby in her mother's womb, with the message: "Please don't do it. She's your baby." According to ALL, they were "orally advised" by TDI executive Jeff Feinstein that the TDI legal department would not approve the ad because of its content.

A spokesperson for TDI claimed that the ad was rejected due to disagreements in pricing.

ALL released correspondence between the two groups, however, that indicates they had "agreed upon the terms and conditions of the advertising."

Both TDI and the MTA respond that they have never seen the ad and were unaware of its content.

"To the best of my knowledge, we have never seen the ads," said Tom Kelly, press secretary for the MTA. However, obtained a copy of a shipping invoice that indicated that the ad was received in good order by TDI. Receipt of the package containing the advertisement was confirmed by a TDI mailroom assistant who corroborated the data with the TDI mail log.

Consequently, ALL has accused TDI of "disseminating false information to the media to cover up its illegal decision" to not run the ad.

"It's unfortunate that TDI would try to confuse the media with falsehoods which are so easily refuted," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League.

"The ad that we provided [TDI], which they initially agreed to use, is no more or less offensive than ads currently placed on public transportation," said Brown.

Although the ad agency will not run ALL's pro-life ad, records show that they have allowed pro-choice advertisements to be displayed, including one that featured the silhouette of a coat hanger with a caption that read, "When your right to abortion is taken away, what are you going to do?"

This is not the first time that TDI's apparent pro-choice bias has drawn media attention. When the agency was handling the account of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, a pro-life advocacy group called Christ's Bride Ministries sued SEPTA and TDI on almost identical grounds.

CBM received a favorable decision upon appeal of the initial 1996 ruling, and was eventually allowed to run their advertisements.