We should have condom and abortion advertising

Teenage pregnancy would be reduced by raised safe-sex awareness

Restrictions on condom advertising and abortion advice could be relaxed in a bid to reduce high rates of teenage pregnancy and sexual infections in the UK.

As part of a review of advertising codes which will be put to the public for their views, the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health recommended that pregnancy advisory services should be allowed to advertise on radio and TV for the first time, as long as they made clear whether or not they referred women for abortions. It also suggested condom adverts should be shown before the 9pm watershed.

The group pointed to figures which showed over 11,000 under-16s were diagnosed with chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhoea, syphilis or genital warts from 2002 to 2006.

At present Channel Four is the only channel where condom adverts are shown from 7pm. However, under the proposals in the new review, all channels could show commercials before the watershed, as long as they did not appear around programmes aimed at children under the age of 10.

Gill Francis, who launched the report, for the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice, said the first port of call for sex education advice for young people should be home and school: “Parents are a child’s first educators and they need to know how to talk about the issues if we are serious about reducing teenage pregnancy in this country,” she said.

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