NEW YORK — Zeno Group has responded to last week’s flap over advising clients not to discuss abortion rights, saying that as “a female led agency, we have been and will continue to be staunch advocates of women’s rights.

“We firmly believe that women have the right to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to their bodies and their health. The guidance that went to our staff and clients earlier this week has been misconstrued as telling clients to stay silent. This is simply not true, and does not accurately represent our point of view,” Zeno said in a statement.

Zeno’s statement comes amidst backlash sparked Friday when Popular Information, an online newsletter, published a Zeno memo recommending clients not respond to the leaked Surprise Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, which Politico published May 2. The article sparked criticism of Zeno for taking actions that run counter to its position as an advocate of gender equity and women’s rights.

“Do not take a stance you cannot reverse, especially when the decision is not final. This topic is a textbook ‘50/50’ issue. Subjects that divide the country can sometimes be no-win situations for companies because regardless of what they do they will alienate at least 15 to 30 percent of their stakeholders… Do not assume that all of your employees, customers or investors share your view," media strategy leader Katie Cwanya wrote in the memo.

“Do not engage with direct questions about your company’s position. Whether in direct messages or public-facing posts, do not respond to questions about where your company stands on this issue," she said.

Zeno, however, said Popular Information did not accurately portray Zeno’s strategy, as the memo was intended to recommend clients act cautiously within the first 24 hours after the Supreme Court news broke.

“Companies are increasingly expected to take a stand on major issues, and we believe it’s right to do so consistent with the organization’s values and actions. We are heartbroken that the values we hold so dear are being called into question as is our commitment to ‘champion the courageous,’” the agency said.

"We believe in equal access to healthcare for all, and a woman’s right to make decisions about her healthcare. At the same time, we live in a world with different opinions and different views, and we respect those differences.”