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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 December, 2004, 04:31 GMT
Contraceptive pill advert pulled
The makers of Levonelle withdrew the posters immediately
An advert for a contraceptive pill has been withdrawn after Catholics and other groups complained to the advertising watchdog.

The poster for morning-after pill Levonelle One Step used the phrase "immaculate contraception".

The Advertising Standards Authority received 179 mostly religious objections - the most complaints for a non-broadcast advert this year.

Pill maker Schering Health Care said it "deeply regretted" causing offence.

Catholic pun

The ASA upheld the complaints, including from the National Association of Catholic Families and the Catholic Truth Society, saying that the headline was "likely to cause serious or widespread offence".

It said the phrase "immaculate contraception" was likely to be seen as a pun on the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Part of the advert, which appeared on the London Underground, read: "Immaculate contraception ? If only.

"It might be Christmas time, but condoms still split and pills still get forgotten."

Schering Health Care said the headline was intended as a pun to indicate that no contraception method was perfect or foolproof, and that Levonelle was available in the event planned contraceptive methods failed.

It immediately removed the posters from the London Underground, cancelled press bookings and promised not to use the advert again.

The ASA rejected a second area of complaint that the poster was irresponsible because it could "encourage casual sex and trivialised unwanted pregnancy".

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