Britain could change media rules to allow abortion advice to be advertised on television and radio, as well as easing rules for condom ads, officials said on Thursday.
The moves would aim to cut high levels of teenage pregnancy, but anti-abortion campaigners said they would "sexualise young people" and lead to greater promiscuity, as well as killing unborn children.
AdvertisementAds for pregnancy advice would be allowed on prime-time television and radio slots, under changes being considered by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) watchdogs.
"Because it considers that women who are or might be pregnant and are considering abortion merit specific protection, BCAP proposes to include a rule on advertisements for post-conception pregnancy advice services," the committee said.
One of Britain's biggest independent pregnancy advisory service, whose clinicians perform abortions as well, said it would immediately consider running adverts.
"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," Julie Douglas, head of marketing at Marie Stopes International, told The Independent newspaper.
The two advertising watchdog bodies, which have carried out an 18-month review of the rules, notably propose allowing adverts for condoms before the 9:00pm watershed, after which an adult audience is assumed.
Currently only Channel 4 television, a commercially-funded public service broadcaster, is allowed to run condom adverts after 7:00pm.
Anti-abortion campaigners rejected the proposals, saying the move "threatens to further commercialise the killing of unborn children.
"It would completely disregard the adverse effect of abortion on women's health," said John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
"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... will be unlikely to afford to advertise."
The easing of rules on condom advertising would "only serve to sexualise young people, and the resulting promiscuity would lead to more abortions, more teenage pregnancies and more sexually transmitted infections," he added.
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