ASA rules against Christian Voice over HPV ad

Christian Voice is a conservative lobby group famous for, among other things, an unhealthy obsession with other peoples’ sexuality and protesting against Jerry Springer: The Opera. Last year they funded an advert in the New Statesman which included the following claim:

VIOLENT CRIME – SOWING AND REAPING
There is a Biblical principle that we reap what we sow. It applies to nations as well as to individuals. What politicians sow, the people reap. When politicians sow evil, the people reap misery, and the poorest reap it the worst.

The Divorce Reform Act 1969 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 introduced divorce on demand and no-fault settlements. The ease with which Parliament said marriages could break up sowed the idea that the promises made in marriage did not matter. The people have reaped a covenant-breaking mentality in which being divorced against your will or any kind of justice is taken for granted and the sum of human misery is increased.

Around that time, the state began to encourage teenagers to have sex with the only moral message being to use a condom. That resulted in profits to manufacturers and an explosion of teenage pregnancy. Now we have the disaster of teenage infertility. Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it, but as all the targets revolve around pregnancy, no-one in power cares about those young people they have made sterile.

Subsequently, a complaint was lodged with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), pointing out that the HPV vaccine has not been shown to cause infertility, and that as such, the advert was making a false claim. Christian Voice, for their part, responded to the complaint:

The officials demanded ‘robust, scientific evidence that the HPV vaccine caused infertility in teenagers’, missing the point that it is the encouragement of promiscuity in Government teen sex initiatives which spreads the infections which do the damage, not the vaccine itself.

Their draft ruling says: ‘the claim “Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it [teenage infertility]” was a statement of fact that was capable of substantiation.’ Christian Voice say requiring the substantiation of a future prediction in an opinion piece is preposterous and an infringement of freedom of speech.

Apparently, being asked to back up a scientific claim is “preposterous” to these folks. Oh goody – just the people we want advising the world on reproductive health. Naturally.

The ASA has now ruled on the complaint, noting:

Assessment
Upheld

The ASA noted Christian Voice’s response. We considered, however, that the claim “Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it [teenage infertility]” was a statement of fact that was a matter open to substantiation. We noted the webpage submitted by Christian Voice, but we did not consider that that webpage in itself was sufficient to support the claim. Because we had not seen robust, scientific evidence that the HPV vaccine caused infertility in teenagers, we concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Principles), 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).

Action
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Christian Voice not to repeat the implied claim that the HPV vaccine would result in teenage infertility.

pwned.

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