Broadcasters in the UK are preparing to show the first adverts for a morning-after pill, it has been announced.
A range of channels, including ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, will screen the advert for pharmaceutical company Bayer Schering Pharma's pill after the 9pm watershed.
The controversial move, condemned by pro-life groups such as the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Spuc) and the ProLife Alliance, follows a row in recent weeks about the possibility of TV adverts for condoms and sexual health services.
The advert for the Levonelle One Step pill will inform viewers it is effective for up to 72 hours after contraception has failed, although it is more effective the sooner it is taken.
This message will be accompanied by the scene of a woman waking up next to her partner and then taking a trip to a pharmacy to ask for the drug, which is the only morning-after pill available to women in the UK.
A spokeswoman from the firm said: "If regular contraception fails, women need to know that emergency contraceptive options are available and where advice can be sought."
Julie Bentley, chief executive of the FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association), said it was important that women knew the pill is most effective in the first 24 hours after having unprotected sex, and that it is available from contraceptive clinics, GPs and pharmacies.
Copyright © Press Association 2009
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Emergency contraception is often needed because it is an emergency and women need to know where to access this. Why do we continue to demonise those women who wnat to avoid a pregnancy?" – Kathy French, London
"Thank goodness for that, about time too. Contrary to what others believe, sex education/relationship counselling is still of very poor quality compared to many of our European neighbours, and many young people have sex with no idea where to access EC, certainly no idea that they can get it in pharmacies, many of which give it free to the young ones. Teaching people to say NO is pointless, as it doesnt work, as anyone who has worked with young people will tell you. And anyway, isn't that what parents are always telling their kids? Does it help?" – Karen Nicoll, London
"About time: I can't even believe this question still needs asking in 2009, and equally so about safer sex adverts for condoms! Not advertising emergency contraception (EC) – thus denying many females of accurate knowledge of its availability – will not stop people from having sex. So the arguments of certain vociferous, moralist minorities are redundant here. Let's get some facts clear: 1) Sex happens – get over it! 2) EC is NOT an abortifacient. 3) EC is incorrectly called the 'morning-after pill', and 4) Condoms are the greatest protection against many sexual infections, including HIV, if used consistently and correctly during penetrative intercourse (vaginal/anal). One final note to the various moralist groups: holding such beliefs is not a guarantee to protect one against unplanned and unwanted conceptions, sexual infections or HIV! To moralise on health promotion topics, with the aim of denying people certain health (service) information, is in itself immoral: like hiding the fact that 'smoking kills'" – David T Evans, Educational Consultant in Sexual Health, London
"When are professional people going to stop using the term 'morning after' pill. It is so misleading" – Carol Young, Essex
"We might even see a decline in unwanted teenage pregnancies" – Trevor Guilliano, Gibraltar
"I think if women don't know by now that the morning-after pill is available widely then they are living in cloud cuckoo land. Never before has there been so much sexual health education with so little effect. STIs and STDs are at crisis stages. Time to look at encouraging folk to say NO rather than how to firefight! No, no I don't think any form of contraception should be advertised. It just encourages inappropriate behaviour" – Stella Welsh, Glasgow
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