BY ANDREW M BROWN
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
roundly condemned this week proposals by doctors' leaders that condoms should be made available free of charge, paid for by the NHS, in high street chemists. Nicholas Coote, assistant general secretary to the Bishops' Conference, told the Catholic Herald: "It's the logical conclusion of the quick fix to any problem approach. It's encouraging people to think that they can have sex without risk.
"And the best motivator for responsible sexual behaviour is not fear, but complete education in human love, so that when people do eventually come to marriage they have already learnt about restraint, fidelity, respect and self-respect. The Church deals with ideals, but you cannot do away with ideals, any more than you can do away with souls."
A spokesman for the British Medical Association said that free condoms would be in the interests of public health.
Currently people have to go to their GPs or to family planning clinics for free contraceptives. "You go to a doctor when you're ill. Many people find pharmacists easier and less threatening." said the spokesman.
Last year around 160 million condoms were bought, at an estimated cost of £53 million. High Street pharmacists have welcomed the BMA's suggestion.