Abortion ads could be allowed on television and radio for the first time, according to new plans by the advertising watchdog.
Should condom and abortionadverts be allowed on TV?
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge debates the issue on BBC Radio Leicester.
Condom companies would also see the 9pm watershed removed as new relaxed rules would allow them to advertise anytime of the day and night.
The only restriction would be around programmes targeted at children aged under ten.
However, advertisers of unhealthy foods are banned from targeting under-16s.
The changes by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) would give Britain one of the most liberal advertising regimes on sexual health services in the world.
This proposal will be open for public consultation until June.
The ASA claim the proposals are responding to a Government call from the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) on Sexual Health and HIV to help combat soaring teenage pregnancy rates.
The IAG also lobbied heavily for the introduction of compulsory sex education for schools, which the Government plans to implement.
But family campaigners, politicians and doctors say more ads for abortion clinics and condoms will only lead to greater promiscuity among young people.
Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: “The problem is that the Government strategy on teenage pregnancy, based on condoms, the morning-after pill and abortion, has failed.
“Allowing the advertising of abortion services is not dealing with the real problem. This is the approach of having the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to deal with the casualties.
“The whole approach from Government and officialdom creates an atmosphere where it is seen as acceptable for teenagers to indulge in recreational sex without regard to the very serious consequences in terms of physical and emotional health.”
John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: “The ASA already demonstrated a bias against pro-life groups when it attempted to ban advertisements which stated correctly that morning-after pills may cause early abortions.
“We are also concerned about the proposal to allow advertisements on television for condoms before the 9pm watershed. Such a move would only serve to sexualise young people, and the resulting promiscuity would lead to more abortions, more teenage pregnancies and more sexually transmitted infections.”
The plans have been branded “insane” by Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who is leading calls to lower the upper time limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks.
She said: “The very last thing we want to see is advertisements for abortion services in the middle of a break for a programme like This Morning.”
The ASA is starting a twelve-week public consultation into the proposals today, closing on 19 June. The changes are expected to come into force as early as next year.
A spokesman for the ASA, Matt Wilson, said advertising by abortion clinics would have to be “socially responsible”, but it is unclear as yet how this would be enforced.