The sexual health clinic Marie Stopes International has paid for a slot on Channel 4 on Monday for an advert targeted at women in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy.
The organisation, which carried out 65,000 abortions last year, has circumvented a ban on the commercials because it is a charity and does not make a profit from its services.
But the move has been condemned by viewer watchdogs, religious groups and family campaigners, who claim it is “grossly inappropriate” to “sell abortions” alongside products such as soap powder and cars.
Apparently the ad will not mention abortion, but ask women: “Are you late?” Women who have missed a period and are concerned about it are directed to call their 24 helpline.
Opponents are organizing a legal challenge.