CofE slams ’round-the clock’ condom adverts

The Church of England has criticised proposals for ’round-the-clock’ condom ads on tv saying “educational and commercial objectives should not be muddled”.

In March the advertising watchdog, BCAP, announced plans to allow abortion ads on television and radio for the first time, and to remove the 9pm watershed for condom ads.

The Church said they remained “deeply opposed to relaxing the regulations around the targeting of condom advertising at under 16s”, in its response to BCAP’s (the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice) consultation on condom advertising.

“Attempts to help young people towards a mature understanding of sexuality and relationships will only work if they are tackled in the home, at school, in the community and in wider society – including through the media”, the submission stated.

“The Church supports the sensitive use of media to offer unbiased and authoritative information to young people, but educational and commercial objectives should not be muddled”, it told the UK advertising watchdog.

The submission goes on to call for “the transmission of authoritative messages about contraception – delivered in the context of relationships – and should be designed to give young people confidence to make their own decisions about if and when to engage in sexual activity (and include the viability of abstinence as an option)”.

The Church is strong in its opposition to abortion and maintains there are only strictly limited conditions under which it may be morally preferable to any available alternative.

The Church of England’s response, from the Mission and Public Affairs Council and Communications Office of the Archbishops’ Council said: “As the consultation notes, young women who have conceived and are unsure whether they are able to continue with the pregnancy are in an extremely vulnerable position.

“This is no less the case for those who are opposed to abortion, and it is important that their sensibilities are given due respect and that they are able to clearly understand whether a service they see or hear advertised is likely to include abortion among the options presented to them.”

The BCAP consultation closed last Friday and it is currently unknown as to when a report will be released.

Earlier this week doctors warned that television already sends out the message that casual sex is fine and allowing abortion ads would simply offer a ‘quick fix’ for the consequences.

In March, at the time the advertising watchdog announced the proposals, 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.”

A cross-party group of MPs has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling on the Government to “encourage more normal lifestyles with deferment of sexual activity among under-age children and adolescents rather than introducing measures that will further sexualise them”.

The MPs said the groups behind plans to allow TV ads for condoms and abortion services make their money from promoting these things.

The EDM states groups such as FPA, Brook and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) are given “major grants to provide contraception and abortion to unmarried young people including under-age children, often without parental knowledge”.

But “despite the Department of Health doing more than any other government body in Europe to promote abortion and contraception, the rate of under-age conception in this country continues to increase and is the highest in Western Europe”.

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