CHARGING The Times " with " Grossly misleading public opinion with " a trail of error and misrepresentation," the British Medical Association has denied accusations that it (the B.M.A.) succumbed to threats from a Catholic "minority" in the recent Family Planning advert controversy.
The British Medical Association has vigorously refuted accusations that it succumbed to threats from Catholics when it declined to publish a twopage advertisement for the Family Planning Association in its monthly magazine "Family Doctor" and in the 1960 edition of the controversial booklet "Getting Married."
An editorial in the B.M.A.'s weekly journal of last Saturday charges "The Times" with "grossly misleading" public opinion through its "curious and exclusive reference" to Catholics as the cause of the B.M.A.'s withdrawal, and declares that it is highly regrettable that "The Times" and others should have seen in this controversy another Gunpowder Plot.
he 'British Medical Journal." commenting on the facts behind "the trail of error and misrepresentation" blazed by "The Times", assumes that it was a report in the "Sunday Express"' which sparked off the speculation. This is correct.
A "Sunday Express" reporter had discovered that on the agenda of a forthcoming B.M.A. Council meeting was a request from the "Family Doctor" committee for the opinion of the Council on the advisability of publishing in "Family Doctor" and "Getting Married" a two-page advertisement for the Family Planning Association.
The "Sunday Express" reporter asked Dr. J. V. O'Sullivan, a Harley Street surgeon who is
secretary .of the Guild of St. Luke and SS. Cosmas and Damian, for his comments on this, and also phoned the Family Planning Association to obtain their opinions.
Dr. O'Sullivan told the "Sunday Express" that when "Getting Married" was published in 1959 "a large number of Catholic doctors were ready to resign from the B.M.A." because material in the booklet was so objectionable. He added: "I cannot say whether we would take the same action over this advertisement [of the Family Planning Association], because I have not seen what form it is in, but certainly there is a great feeling over this issue."
The B.M.A,'s journal states "There was no threat in this moderate statement. A similar and even more modest statement from the Guild of St. Luke and SS. Cosmas and Damian was before the Council." It adds that"Catholics have every right to express their convictions. They have no right to attempt to dictate, nor indeed in this instance have they attempted
to do so . No one—whatever his private beliefs or public protestations—can be otherwise than deeply perturbed by the prevailing sexual mores, by the effect of the pressures and examples of those who should know better upon impressionable young people . . . Freud said something to the effect that civilization is inhibition . , .
"This is but part of the background to the decision the 'Family Doctor' Committee and the Council have, in concert, tried to arrive at in deciding whether to publish in a popular health magazine issued by the B.M.A. to the public an advertisement which might be
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