Free morning-after pill advert under fire

The Dominion Post 13 January 2009
A radio campaign for free handouts of the morning-after pill is giving teens an excuse for unprotected sex and putting them at risk of sexually transmitted infections, critics say. Auckland District Health Board began a $300,000 trial in October offering the emergency contraceptive pill free at pharmacies in a bid to cut the teen pregnancy and abortion rate. In the first two months of the scheme, 1539 women got the pill. A similar scheme, for women under 25, has run in the Waikato for two years.

Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said a radio advert for the pill in which a chance encounter on a beach leads to an unplanned sexual liaison and the need for the emergency contraceptive sent the wrong message to young listeners. “We shouldn’t be telling teenagers that having unprotected sex is okay. This [pill] deals with unwanted pregnancy, but there’s no mention of the danger of sexually transmitted infections.” Family Planning Association chief executive Jackie Edmond said she accepted it was difficult to communicate complex health messages in one short ad but she hoped women using emergency contraception knew to seek a full health check later.

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