The Church of England and anti-abortion groups are outraged at a morning-after pill advertising campaign due to break in February.
This will be the first time that the pill, also called the emergency contraceptive pill, has been advertised in the UK. The pill, to be marketed under the Levonelle name, is owned by Schering Healthcare.
The press ads, created by Dewar Alexander, will be carried in women’s glossies including Elle, Cosmopolitan, Red, Glamour and Heat. Media planning and buying is through Jones Britton Breckon Company.
A spokesman for the Church of England says: “It is a shame that the morning-after pill has to be advertised at all. The pill definitely does not help underage pregnancies or tackle the causes of unwanted pregnancies, and we are concerned that underage girls will be exposed to it.”
Life, an anti-abortion organisation, says that it plans to complain about the ads once they are rolled out. Nuala Scarisbrick, a trustee at Life says: “The advertising could curse young girls into sex.”
The Family and Youth Concern Charity recently sent out a morning-after pill factsheet to schools which says: “The ready availability of the morning-after pill will further promote a casual approach to sexual relationships. It will also give the green light to men and boys wishing to exert pressure on young women and girls reluctant to enter a sexual relationship.”
The morning-after pill has been surrounded by controversy since it was first approved for use in the UK during the Eighties. At that time, the Department of Health and Social Security had said that it would remain a prescription-only drug. Levonelle is, however, now available as an over-the-counter drug which can be purchased at any pharmacy for &£19.99.