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20,000 Calls Follow Airing of Campaign Ad Showing Fetuses With AM-Abortion Experience, Bjt;

April 22, 1992

20,000 Calls Follow Airing of Campaign Ad Showing Fetuses With AM-Abortion Experience, Bjt; AM-Abortion Protests

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Two television stations in Indiana and Kentucky have been swamped with calls about graphic political campaign commercials showing aborted fetuses. Many callers supported keeping the ads on the air.

One Louisville, Ky., woman objected to the commercials so strongly she went to court Tuesday seeking to stop broadcast of the ads. But a federal judge denied her application for a restraining order.

Nearly 20,000 viewers called WISH-TV during a six-hour period Monday night after seeing the advertisements for Michael Bailey’s 9th District congressional campaign. Calls continued Tuesday, station officials said.

WISH and WHAS-TV in Louisville, Ky., which is seen in southern Indiana, began broadcasting the two 30-second commercials Monday.

The move propelled Bailey, 35, a political novice and former commercial adman who operates Christian Media Ministries, out of obscurity. All major national television networks carried reports on Bailey’s advertisements Monday.

The handwritten lawsuit filed by Nickie Green claimed Bailey was trying to use a bid for political office to further his anti-abortion beliefs.

″Mr. Bailey has no real intentions toward the office and has admitted same. His reason is personal and in total disregard of the law,″ Ms. Green wrote.

Bailey responded: ″There’s not one line of truth in the whole thing. I have 250,000 fliers that state my positions on the issues.″

U.S. District Judge Edward Johnstone said Ms. Green hadn’t met procedural rules for filing civil litigation. The judge gave her 10 days to refile her complaint.

Bailey, from Georgetown in southern Indiana, seeks the Republican nomination against incumbent Rep. Lee Hamilton, a well-respected 14-term Democrat who faces no opposition in the May 5 primary.

Bailey said he has budgeted about $20,000 for broadcasting the commercial, and plans to expand the ad campaign next week to additional Indianapolis stations and into the Cincinnati market.

Ted Linn, executive news producer at WISH, said 20,000 people called his station about Bailey’s commercials and about 61 percent were in favor of keeping them on the air.

At the Louisville station, about 350 calls were split between people horrified by the graphic nature of the ads or those ″who felt it was time these sort of things were shown,″ said station manager George Hulcher.

In one of the commercials, Bailey tells viewers the contents aren’t suitable for young children and abortion isn’t suitable for the United States. Fifteen seconds of pictures of dead fetuses follows, footage Bailey says was taken from a documentary on abortion.

Television stations are prohibited under federal law from denying access or censoring any federal candidate’s ad ″even if it is libelous, vulgar or in bad taste″ - even though stations can forbid condom ads or censor other sexual innuendo from their commercial clients.

Hamilton, the incumbent, has said he opposes federal funding of abortions except in cases in which the mother’s health is in danger. Wally Hays, a spokesman for Hamilton, said Tuesday the congressman hadn’t seen Bailey’s commercials and would have no comment.

In the Republican primary, Bailey faces Charles D. Loos of Madison, a former state auditor. Loos has said he is also against abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or when the mother’s life is threatened.

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