SALT LAKE CITY — Planned Parenthood Association of Utah won’t give out condoms in packages borrowing a well-known Mormon phrase.
The pink-and-white wrappers were meant as a playful safe-sex reminder for Latter-day Saints, the group said. But critics say it was distasteful to feature the phrase “CTR” or “Choose the Right,” which the church uses to guide LDS youngsters toward good decisions.
“Our intent was never to offend,” Planned Parenthood Association of Utah wrote Wednesday (July 27) on its Facebook page, “but to use the idea of ‘choosing the right’ to spark open, honest conversations about sexual health and contraception. We strive to be sensitive to our community.”
The acronym CTR is a registered trademark owned by the Mormon church, spokeswoman Kristen Howey said in a statement. “We have not given Planned Parenthood permission to use it.”
Utah’s Planned Parenthood office created a few hundred CTR condoms to hand out at the 2016 Salt Lake Summer Symposium of Sunstone Magazine, a series of discussions on Mormon faith and culture.
But the group says it doesn’t want to distract from the event or its own overall message of safe sex.
On Facebook, some condemned the campaign on Planned Parenthood’s page.
“This is awful, and very distasteful,” one critic wrote. “Come up with your own symbols and leave the church’s alone.”
Others defended the condoms.
“It’s clever and harmless,” wrote another commenter. “Anybody who’s offended already hates PP with a passion, so I doubt you’re losing any measurable amount of support.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches members to abstain from sex until marriage. But the Utah-based faith has not taken a side on the use of birth control among married couples, leaving it up to families.
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman said Wednesday that only CEO Karrie Galloway could comment, citing the group’s policy, and that Galloway could not be reached because she was traveling.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court in Denver ruled that the state must continue to pass $272,000 in federal funding through to the national organization’s Utah affiliate, which had sued the state.
The court wrote in its decision that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s order for the state to drop Planned Parenthood’s federal contracts was made in an attempt to “punish” the local affiliate after hidden-camera videos were released alleging that national Planned Parenthood clinics were acting illegally.