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Three Sponsors of "The Defenders" Withdraw Sponsorship of Abortion Episode

Apr. 8, 1962 - All three advertisers who regularly sponsor the CBS-TV legal drama “The Defenders” have withdrawn sponsorship of an episode that deals with abortion. Despite this, CBS will televise the episode on April 28. The advertisers — Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, Lever Brothers Company, and the Kimberly-Clark Corporation — told CBS their sponsorship of such a program would be in conflict with corporate policy. The episode is called “The Benefactor.” In it, a dedicated physician who is arrested as an abortionist tells his court-appointed attorneys that he wishes to air his views in court in an effort to shed light on abortion. A crusader for legalized abortion, the physician testifies he has performed them only after psychiatrists and social workers failed to influence the patient to accept motherhood instead of abortion. CBS will offer “The Benefactor” to other advertisers to replace the three who withdrew.

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