LONDON - Furious parents called up radio phone-in shows in their hundreds to complain about the first television ad for the morning-after pill, which broke last night.
The ad for Bayer Schering Pharma's Levonelle One Step morning-after pill was screened shortly after the 9pm watershed on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.
One mum was reported in The Mirror to have said: "This trivialises a very important issue. Something as important as pregnancy should not be devalued for profit."
A father complained: "Even though it was shown after 9pm my teenage daughters were watching.
"The worst thing is it makes it seem normal to go and get this pill. We've crossed a moral line with this."
The ProLife Alliance has also condemned the ad claiming: "It is advertised inaccurately as emergency contraception when in fact its major function is to cause the abortion of an embryo that has already been conceived, not as suggested by the name to prevent conception."
A spokeswoman for Bayer Schering, said: "Levonelle One Step is not legally or scientifically an abortifacient. It is not effective once the process of implantation has begun and will not interrupt an established pregnancy."
The cartoon-style ad shows a woman waking up next to her partner and then heading to a chemist to ask for the Levonelle One Step morning-after pill.
A spokeswoman for sexual health charity Marie Stopes International said: "The first emergency contraception advert is a very positive move which Marie Stopes International fully supports, and we hope this paves the way for future sexual health related adverts."
The launch of the Levonelle ad follows proposals to relax the rules on condom advertising and to allow pregnancy advisory services to advertise on television.