By Hilary White and John Jalsevac

LONDON, March 26, 2009 ( – While Britain’s abortion rate continues to climb, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced a proposal to change the rules to allow abortionists to advertise on television. Restrictions on condom advertisements would also be eased if the proposal is approved, allowing the ads to air at any time of day, instead of only after 9:00pm.

The changes in the rules are being billed as a way to help combat soaring teenage pregnancy rates.

The ASA is starting a twelve-week public consultation into the proposal today, closing on June 19, with changes expected to come into force as early as next year.

British abortion providers praised the ASA decision, calling it a “progressive” step to deal with teenage pregnancy. Julie Douglas, head of marketing for Marie Stopes International, one of the world’s largest abortionist groups, said, “I don’t know if we could afford to do it in prime-time TV, but it would be a very interesting thing to do.”

The condom manufacturer Durex also welcomed the proposal, saying in a statement: “We have consistently made the case for the urgent need for responsible pre-watershed condom advertising on television. We believe very strongly that it is essential to be able to get the right safer sex messages across to the right people at the right time, while ensuring adverts are kept away from the youngest viewers.”

MP Nadine Dorries, however, responded to the news calling it, “insane” and “just plain sick.” Dorries said, “I am quite sure that any adverts will depict smiling pretty nurses, gleaming reception areas and leafy car parks. They will not in any way show the fear, anguish, isolation, or subsequent depression.”

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said the proposal “threatens to further commercialise the killing of unborn children” and ignores the danger of abortion for women.

Smeaton said, “Agencies with a financial interest in abortion will be in a position to buy expensive broadcast advertising, whereas groups which provide objective information about abortion and its impact on women’s health will be unlikely to afford to advertise.”

Smeaton noted that the ASA proposal introduces a requirement that any pro-life pregnancy advisory group that advertises must include a disclaimer making clear that it will not refer for abortions. Smeaton criticized the requirement, charging that the ASA has a history of discrimination against pro-life and pro-family groups. “We will be scrutinising the ASA’s proposals closely for any similar signs of potential discrimination against pro-life groups,” he said. 

Smeaton said that SPUC is also concerned about the relaxation of rules on condom adverts, saying that the move will “only serve to sexualise young people,” which would in turn lead to higher rates of teenage pregnancy and abortion.

Dr. Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said that the government’s whole approach to the teenage pregnancy, “based on condoms, the morning-after pill and abortion” has failed.

“The whole approach from Government and officialdom,” Dr. Saunders said, “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.”

Maidstone MP Ann Widdecombe also criticized the proposal, saying that it suggests that “abortion is just like any other consumer product” rather than “an extremely serious business.”

“We’ve never had such a high rate of teenage pregnancy and we also have never had so much sex education and talking about freely available contraception,” said Widdecombe.

“If you keep on hammering home these messages to children then all you will do is get them interested in sex, and that there is a safe way of doing it.

“But for a child there never is.”

Read related coverage:

British Authorities Prohibit Newspaper Ad Condemning Homosexual Behavior

Atheist Ad Adorns 800 London Buses – Another 1,000 to Be Placed in Underground

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