October 23, 2021

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News outlet rejects ad calling out AT&T over infamous Texas law that essentially bans abortion


As a quick review, SB 8 lets people sue anyone who helps those who receive an abortion—like someone who drove a person to an appointment, for example, as well as people who are performing abortions. We’ve already seen people organize to crash vigilante reporting sites and heard from at least one physician who made the call to perform an abortion anyway, citing his duty to provide care. 

Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood, co-chairs the PAC. As previously reported by CNBC, a person who asked not to be identified noted that the PAC is also hoping to run a similar TV ad in Florida, as a Republican lawmakers in the state introduced a bill that’s eerily similar to the disturbingly restrictive law in Texas.

“Companies that backed the lawmakers responsible for this cannot be permitted to bury their heads in the sand,” Richards said in a statement to CNBC, adding that by “funding politicians that have made clear their disdain for reproductive freedom, corporations are giving lawmakers across the country the green light” to go ahead and outlaw safe, essential health care while still getting brownie points for talking about empowerment.

So what’s the deal with this Texas ad about AT&T? According to the outlet, the ad that was supposed to run on Tuesday included a picture of the Texas governor who signed the bill into law, Republican Greg Abbott, with text reading: “AT&T helped fund the anti-abortion politicians who wrote the dangerous law.” The ad then encouraged voters to reach out to AT&T and encourage them to stop giving funds to “anti-abortion extremists.”

Just how much money are politicians getting from AT&T? According to Popular Information, AT&T alone has contributed more than $300,000 to people who co-sponsored SB 8. Comcast/NBCUniversal, CVS Health, State Farms, General Motors, and UnitedHealth Group are also listed as considerable donors, among others. 

A spokesperson for AT&T told CNBC that the company has also contributed donations to lawmakers who oppose SB 8. The spokesperson also told the outlet that the company has never taken a stance on abortion.

So with all of that in mind, what’s the deal with the ad being canceled? Apparently, it comes down to a “history” of the paper not calling out specific companies by name in advertisements.

“I just heard back from the ad approval department,” an account representative for the Dallas Morning News reportedly emailed to a spokesperson for American Bridge. “I am sorry for the late notice but once it made it to the final approval, it was decided to ask for another revision. There is a history (before me) that The Dallas Morning News will not run advertising calling out specific companies by name.” The spokesperson for the Bridge then reportedly forwarded this email to CNBC.

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