The NHS has been accused of promoting an “anti-motherhood” message with a “crass” campaign asking young people if they are prepared to “give up” lipstick and glamorous shoes in order to have a child.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust was accused of cheapening human life over its campaign aimed at discouraging young people from conceiving, with people hitting out on social media at posters which are currently being promoted on buses in the region.
The campaign aimed at discouraging young people from conceiving was branded “thoughtless”, with users voicing disgust at NHS posters which ask women whether they are prepared to “give up” lipstick and high heels to have children.
One of the adverts features the phrase “would you give up this?” next to a high-heeled shoe and red lipstick, followed by the words “for this?” next to a picture of a dummy.
The poster, which advises women they can get taxpayer-funded emergency contraception up to five days after having unprotected sex, “captures the narcissistic hedonism … surrounding the normalised destruction of unborn children,” Right to Life UK blasted on Twitter.
🏻♀️ 😢 This picture of an NHS advert for potentially ‘#contragestive’ drugs (HT our friend @DavQuinn of @IonaInstitute, captures the narcissistic hedonism, and psychotic selfishness, of the ideology surrounding the normalised destruction of unborn children: pic.twitter.com/sbUfHSZb27
— Right To Life UK (@RightToLifeUK) September 14, 2018
The campaign also provoked discussion in Ireland after Sunday Times columnist and Iona Institute director David Quinn drew attention to one of the posters on Twitter, where the majority of replies expressed the opinion it was inappropriate.
It’s disturbing, not to mention decadent. And not reflective of the way women feel about babies. Now we have to feel guilty about our maternal instincts!
— Dr. Niamh (@Briemma) September 14, 2018
Highlighting another poster from the campaign, which features a gaming controller and a blue baby’s dummy next to advice reading “bware da baby trap – use a condom”, human rights charity director Paul Coleman quipped that the usually very politically correct state healthcare service was apparently permitted to use gender stereotypes “so long as it stops babies being born”.
— Paul Coleman (@Paul_ADFIntl) September 14, 2018
Indeed, on Friday Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust issued an apology over the posters after social media manager Kirstie Jones said she was “gobsmacked” by the “sexist” campaign, telling the media: “It doesn’t matter what you look like, what lipstick or shoes you wear when you have a baby. It’s irresponsible.”
Nicola Wenlock, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Sexual Health Director said: “The posters do not refer to gender. While they talk about emergency contraception, which would be taken by a female, the images have been selected because teenagers have told us what is important to them as part of the regular consultation we have with them.”
“We apologise if this particular advertisement has raised a concern,” she said in a statement, adding: “The campaign has played an important role in tackling teenage pregnancy and poor sexual health in our local area which has been reducing steadily year on year.
“The conception rate in 1998 was 67.2; in 2016 this rate had more than halved to 30.0.”
Asserting that the poster implies “motherhood is a burden”, UKIP London Assembly Member David Kurten described the campaign as “thoughtless nonsense” which indicates the NHS “has completely lost the plot”.
“We should be doing everything we can to celebrate and support motherhood and women who choose to have children, not to discourage or cheapen life,” he told Breitbart London.
“To imply that motherhood, a woman’s greatest vocation, is somehow less desirable than owning a pair of stiletto shoes and a tube of lipstick is to cheapen human life itself.
“It is a sad reflection of the ‘everything hanging out and in your face’ culture being thrust upon us by our once-great institutions.
“It would be far better to encourage responsible relationships and discretion than to normalise emergency contraception as a method of birth control for teenagers and young women,” he added.