Indecent for Radio? Change the (Clear) Channel!

When the South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC) opened its doors in April, it became the first clinic to offer abortions in Wichita since Dr. George Tiller’s  murder four years ago. One of only three abortion clinics in Kansas, it’s also one of only three health clinics in Wichita to offer subsidized birth-control for low-income individuals.

As if the threats to the center by anti-abortion picketers and legislation wasn’t enough, conservative media giant Clear Channel has joined the ranks of those who would stifle access to comprehensive women’s healthcare services. Clear Channel pulled two South Wind advertisements that were going to run on local Wichita radio stations.

Their motivation? Advertising where to access reproductive care is considered a violation of the company’s ‘decency standards’.

Here’s the first SWWC ad:

At South Wind Women’s Center, our physicians are committed to providing quality reproductive healthcare in Wichita. And each physician is board-certified in family medicine or obstetrics in gynecology. Between them, they have more than 50 years of experience and dedication, ensuring women are able to receive the care they need when they need it.

And the second:

South Wind Women’s Center was founded to reestablish access to full-spectrum reproductive healthcare. The center provides high-quality medical care and trusts women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. South Wind Women’s Center: entrusting women with their own medical decision-making.

Indecent? Clear Channel’s standards seem to be less about decency and more about  conservative politics: Clear Channel still loyally stands behind and airs the notoriously inflammatory radio shows hosted by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

But women (and men) aren’t going to take this silencing of South Wind’s ads without making a lot of noise about it. Women, Action & Media (WAM!) is calling on those who support access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare to join their #changethechannel campaign, based on the premise that “women’s health is never indecent and everyone has the right to know where they can get medical care.”

WAM! executive director Jaclyn Friedman has criticized Clear Channel for setting a precedent that private corporate interests override a woman’s right to access life-saving information:

At a time when access to reproductive health services, including but not limited to abortion, is under ever-increasing attack by politicians and anti-choice extremist groups alike, it’s ever more critical that women learn about the services that are still available to them … If we let this stand in Wichita, what city will be next? We have to take action now.

WAM!’s campaign includes an online petition, and urges supporters to demand over Twitter, Facebook, email and phone that Clear Channel run the SWWC ads. Join in!

And don’t miss the feature article on South Wind Women’s Center in the upcoming issue of Ms. magazine, available in print or on your mobile devices!

Top photo from the South Wind Women’s Center Facebook page; infographic from WAM!’s #changethechannel campaign.


Jennifer Simeone is a freelance feminist writer and recent graduate from University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently based in Los Angeles but moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find out more by following her on Tumblr or Twitter