If you’re one of the millions of women who have received an advertisement for an alternative abortion provider, and you’ve decided to opt out, you may be surprised to learn that the advert contains a line that is not an advertisement, but a non-controversial statement that could be read as anti-abortion, according to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The report, titled “Why Advertisements May Be Targeted at You,” looks at what constitutes “fair use” for a wide variety of non-commercial speech, from music to comedy, and says the use of the line in the abortion ad was not protected by copyright.
“It’s a very broad line,” the report states.
“The line is clearly not an ad, it’s a statement that would not normally be allowed under copyright law, and that’s what we’re concerned about.”
The report also says the line is not used in an editorial, but is meant to make a point, and may not be “fairly transformative” of the work.
The line, the ACLU says, is not specifically about abortion or abortion providers, but “targets a large group of women seeking abortion services who are being excluded from those services.”
The ACLU also said it found no instances of the ad being altered in any way and found the line’s use “a strong indication that it’s not fair use.”
The organization’s executive director, Anthony Romero, told ABC News that it is not uncommon for adverts to be used in advertisements to push a political message.
He said that the ACLU is working to “put an end to this practice and ensure that these ads are clearly marked as non-political and fair use in the first place.”
The abortion provider that used the line did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
The ACLU report also highlights a case in Texas that has been making headlines since the 2016 election, when a pro-life group sued a pro-“choice” group for using the phrase “the unborn” in an ad.
The Texas Republican Party sued the group, which was seeking to run a billboard campaign that would claim the unborn child is not a person.
The group eventually settled out of court, with the GOP paying a $1,500 fine and agreeing to take down the ad and its message.
The party later took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ad that was used in that case, which features a pregnant woman and two of her children, is now part of the party’s current advertising campaign.ABC News’ Ryan Chittum contributed to this report.