BPAS targets students in morning-after pill push

Sexual healthcare charity BPAS is set to provoke controversy with a new campaign encouraging female university students to keep a morning-after pill at home ‘just in case'.

The charity, formerly known as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, plans to stage exhibitions at freshers’ fairs in September to create a buzz in students’ unions and alert student media.

It will publicise the fact that it provides the morning after pill for £10, compared with the average retail cost of £26. The charity will use soon-to-be commissioned research into young people’s views on emergency contraception as a news hook.

The move is certain to attract criticism from religious bodies and family groups – The Family Education Trust has already branded the campaign ‘irresponsible’.

Its director Norman Wells told PRWeek: ‘When the morning-after pill was first approved for use in the UK, it was for use only in exceptional circumstances. If we now start marketing it as a ‘just in case’ drug like aspirin, we are embarking on a very dangerous experiment with unknown consequences.’

‘Evidence suggests that the easy availability of the morning-after pill is lulling young women into a false sense of security, encouraging a more casual attitude to sex, and exposing them to increased risk of sexually transmitted infections.’

BPAS has been lobbying pharma firms and health centres since December, in a bid to raise awareness of emergency contraception issues.

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