Update: Planned Parenthood ads have reappeared on The Crimson White’s website as of Oct. 20 and appear again on the back page of the Oct. 20 CW print issue.
Planned Parenthood advertised in University of Alabama student media in the month of September.
The reproductive services nonprofit had placements in The Crimson White at the top of an email newsletter, in banners on the website, and across the full back page of the last print issue.
The print ad read “Our Doors Are Open” and was accompanied by a QR code.
The QR code in print and the imbedded links in the other ad placements led to a Planned Parenthood webpage with a list of services the group provides, including abortion services and referrals, contraception products, and transgender hormone therapy.
The Office of Student Media advertising policy webpage says, “The final decision regarding if an advertisement is accepted lies with the editor or station manager of the publication in which advertising or underwriting is sought.”
Editor-in-Chief Bhavana Ravala confirmed to Capstone Free Press that she did approve the advertisements for publication. It is unclear if The Crimson White accepted money for these ad placements and how much. The Crimson White is partially funded through the University.
Ravala did not comment on the abortion stances of The Crimson White’s Editorial Board.
“Student Media followed our guidelines for this advertising, and the ads were accepted for publication in The Crimson White,” said Office of Student Media Director Jessie Patterson Jones.
“I am appalled at the recent Planned Parenthood ads displayed in The Crimson White,” said Susanna Edgecomb, President of the UA Students for Life chapter. “A school paper should represent the students of the school. This is shocking and blatant disrespect toward the pro-life movement and the many students at UA who align with it.”
Planned Parenthood, UA President Stuart Bell, and UA’s chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action did not respond to requests for comment.
Capstone Free Press asked Ravala if The Crimson White claims to represent or serve as a voice for all students.
“As The University of Alabama’s student newspaper, The Crimson White’s primary purpose is to be a source of thorough and accurate information for UA students. As such, we aim to represent campus as accurately as possible in our staff and content,” she said.
Capstone Free Press exploration also found a 2019 sponsored post on The Crimson White’s Facebook page for URGE, Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, with the caption: “Join URGE’s Abortion Positive Tour! Being abortion positive means no shame, no stigma, and no apologies! Get connected to URGE events and chapters on campus and pledge to be #AbortionPositive.”
Planned Parenthood announced earlier this year an effort to reach young people and minorities ahead of the fall of Roe v. Wade through a $16 million public relations campaign. It is unclear if college newspapers are one of the campaign’s strategic mediums.