Over the past 10 years, Homemaker’s magazine has consistently followed a pro-abortion editorial policy. The sole concession towards balance on this matter has been to publish a selection of pro-life readers’ letters, which they had received following the start of the boycott last year.
Repeated requests from readers, from Campaign Life members, and from other pro-life groups, asking Homemaker’s to review this one-sided policy, eventually had an effect in 1976. The pro- abortion articles simply stopped for a while. By 1983, however, Homemaker’s obviously decided to try again and pro-abortion pieces appeared in both the March and April issues. Once again, their only concession to a balance of views appeared in the “letters to the editor” column where a few pro-life protests were to be found.
Homemaker’s magazine, owned by Comac Communication Limited, is wholly subsidized by advertising revenue. It is delivered, free of charge, to selected homes in 28 cities across Canada. Over the years, many pro-life individuals have asked both the magazine and the Post Office to stop delivery at their homes; it seems that this is impossible. They deliver to areas, not to individuals.
As there is no way to indicate dislike of the magazine by refusing to buy it, or by refusing to accept home delivery, Campaign Life suggested that its members write directly to the subsidizers of the magazine, the advertisers.
Pro-lifers wrote to advertisers informing them that their advertising revenue was supporting and promoting Homemaker’s one-sided approach to abortion. As protests directly to the magazine had little or no effect, the writers stated their intention to boycott the products advertised.
Companies wishing to advertise their products select newspapers of periodicals, which will reach the consumers most likely to purchase their products. For example, if a company wants to reach a market with a high disposable income, then they direct their advertising dollars to the periodical most read by that audience.
In the case of Homemaker’s, the companies contacted by pro-lifers were made aware that their advertising dollars were supporting editorial policies that the audience considered hostile. Instead of maintaining or increasing their share of the market, they were advised that they were losing ground. Although none of the companies contacted would go on record as saying the pro-life pressure was a factor, many indicated the necessity of re-examining their practice of advertising in Homemaker’s.
Almost ten months later, the pro-life action has had an effect. The media picked up the story when R. E. Oliver, interim president of the Advertising Board (AAB), wrote a critical editorial in the AAB’s November newsletter.
Oliver stated that advertisers should not be permitted “to dictate editorial or program content.” He asserted that such pressure jeopardized “editorial integrity … creative freedom, quality and a diversity of views in the various news and information medics.”
Jane Gale, editor of Homemaker’s, complains that Campaign Life is interfering with freedom of the press; she also asserts “the issue is choice.” That Ms. Gale believes this is manifest. Last summer, she and eleven other women, founded an organization called “The Issue is Choice” and took out an ad in the Globe and Mail to state their position.
Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Canada is pleased that the Homemaker’s boycott is provoking debate. He said, “it is the consumer’s democratic right to refuse to purchase products which support a magazine which is unacceptable. It appears that neither Ms. Gale nor the advertisers want consumers to have the right to object to what is being printed.”
Mr. Hughes is not saying at this time what further action Campaign Life will take against Homemaker’s if it continues its propaganda campaign. He merely said, “stay tuned for part two.”