The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales expressed its rejection of a norm that would allow the advertising of abortion and condoms on the airwaves and said such advertising would be a failure to protect young people, who are already taught an “impoverished view of sex” by society.
In a statement prepared by the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, the bishops said they do not believe that services which offer or refer for abortion should be allowed to advertise on broadcast media” because “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.”
“Allowing broadcast advertising of abortion services would contribute to a further ‘normalisation’ of abortion and its assimilation to a consumer service,” the bishops said.
They also deplored a plan to promote condoms among British youth. “It is profoundly inappropriate to advertise condoms to children,” the bishops said, pointing out that “promoting the use of condoms cannot be separated from promoting sex, and the sexualisation of the target audience, which will be extended in this case to children from 10 – 16 years old.”
The use of condoms, the prelates said, “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,” they added.
“It is very important that this process is not encouraged by a willingness to advertise services which have already done enormous damage to perceptions of sex in our society,” the bishops warned.
“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,” they said.