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Planned Parenthood backs off plan to put Mormon phrase on condoms

A bowl of free condoms is seen in a lobby at the AIDS Service Center of New York City's Lower Manhattan headquarters on July 3, 2012. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mike Segar

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.

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Annie Knox / The Salt Lake Tribune

6 Comments

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  • Are people getting so crazy at the Sunstone symposium that they are all sleeping around like nuts?!? I see handing out condoms in a place like Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans during Carnival/Mardi Gras, but give me a break. Not only is this designed to offend and evidence of incredibly poor judgement, but it also opens up Planned Parenthood to all sort of lawsuits and liability from a trademark perspective were they to go through with it. I am glad that someone finally came to their senses.

  • The thing that bugs me is that the Mormon church has a trademark on a three acronym. That is far too broad. So, while it’s probably best that Planned Parenthood doesn’t go down the road of using it, I’d definitely be in favor of rogue pranksters using it to get under the skin of the LDS copyright lawyers.

  • Yes, Mormons have sex before marriage and sex outside of marriage, so making condoms available is a good idea. Putting a Mormon acronym on the condoms strikes me as funny, but I can see why the Mormon church doesn’t like it. It wasn’t well thought through by PP.

    Okay Mormons, PP is sorry and won’t do it any more. Let it go now.

  • Apparently they learned nothing from the controversy a few years ago about their PP Christmas cards.

  • Perhaps you should do a little research into church related conferences/conventions and the rise in prostitution in those cities during those meetings! And yes, I’m sure it happens in SLC as well.

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