UK Bishops Protest Proposed Abortion Ads

Warn Against Danger of Sexualizing Children

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LONDON, JUNE 22, 2009 ( The bishops’ conference of England and Wales is opposing a proposal that would allow for the advertising of abortion and contraceptives in the country’s broadcast media.

A conference communiqué reported today that the bishops submitted their views to a committee gathering public opinion on the proposed Broadcast Advertising Standards code.

The conference statement, prepared by the Linacre Center for Healthcare Ethics, affirmed, «We do not believe that services which offer or refer for abortion should be allowed to advertise on broadcast media.»

It explained: «Abortion is neither medicine nor a consumer product.

«Presenting it as either of these erodes respect for life, and is highly misleading and damaging to women, who may feel pressured into making a quick decision which can never be revoked.»

The bishops also asserted that «allowing broadcast advertising of abortion services would contribute to a further ‘normalization’ of abortion and its assimilation to a consumer service.»

The statement added that «to allow the advertising of abortion-referral services is, in effect, to allow the exploitative promotion of these services and is not in the interests of the health or psychological well-being of women.»


The conference next raised concerns over the proposed promotion of condoms and other contraceptives, even to children under 16.

«It is profoundly inappropriate to advertise condoms to children,» the bishops affirmed, «and around programs that appeal particularly to children from the age of 10.»

They continued, «Promoting use of condoms cannot be separated from promoting sex, and the sexualizing of the target audience, which will be extended in this case to children from 10-16 years old.»

The statement noted: «The age of consent is 16 in England, Scotland and Wales. The [proposed code] should not encourage the sexualizing of children by promoting condom use, because such use does not in any way remove the moral or legal objections to sex involving children.»

«Our society is already failing young people by presenting an impoverished view of sex, too often entirely separated from any context of committed love and readiness for parenthood,» the conference stated.

The bishops underlined the importance of not encouraging this process by advertising «services which have already done enormous damage to perceptions of sex in our society.»

The statement continued: «In the many cases where respect for life, as well as sex and marriage, is at issue, the situation is still more serious, since not only the rights of young people are at stake, but those of any child they conceive.

«Respect for life, sex and parenthood are central to a healthy society, and advertising standards should reflect this.»

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