Is a New Safe Sex Ad Aimed at Teens Too Hot for Television?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 21, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, safe sex versus appropriate viewing. By the way, this subject matter might not be suitable for young children.

Planned Parenthood has produced a TV ad designed to encourage the use of condoms. The ads are being shown on MTV and some web sites. Predictably, some groups feel the ads are way over the line. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My father always told me to use the right tool for the right job.

Nice tool.


O'REILLY: With us now Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood and a contributor to the book "Becoming Myself: Reflections of Growing Up Female". And from Washington, Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Woman for America.

Ms. Wright, we'll begin with you. Obviously, I don't think you like this advertisement very much. Why not?

WENDY WRIGHT, PRESIDENT, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: This is drive-by soft core porn. Planned Parenthood is treating sex as recreation with no mention that risky sexual activity like this, even using a condom or other forms of contraception, will put people at risk of sexually transmitted diseases and even pregnancy.

And all that's doing is creating more customers for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood sells contraception, STD testing and services and abortions. By promoting sex as recreation, it's encouraging the behavior that leads to more clients for Planned Parenthood.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, when you said it's sex as recreation, certainly there is a jovial tone to the ad. I mean, I don't think anybody can dispute that. There's a lot of double entendre. The guy has his little hat on in the sack and all that. But they could be married, these people. I mean, you don't know that.

WRIGHT: If you read the Planned Parenthood-Golden Gate office, which put this out, their Web site describing the ad, it says, "her boyfriend." So they're clearly wanting to put the message out that these are people who are not married. They're young.

Which by the way, the younger you are, the more likely you are to get a sexually transmitted disease. Teenagers are particularly susceptible to STD's, which condoms don't protect against most forms of.

O'REILLY: OK. Gloria, want to reply?

GLORIA FELDT, FORMER PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Absolutely. And you know, Bill, I have a new life now, so if I disagreed with something that Planned Parenthood did I would say so.

I think this is a terrific ad, because it's aimed at exactly the demographic that MTV has. And that's where they're showing it. It's aimed for the 18 to 24-year-old age group. It has actors who are 20-somethings.

It uses a sense of humor to talk about making sure that sex is responsible, that you are educated, that you're prepared, and that it's better to prevent an unintended pregnancy, lower the abortion rate. In fact, you would think that Wendy and her organization would want to support prevention, which is what this is about.

O'REILLY: All right. I don't think Wendy's organization is ever going to encourage promiscuity.

FELDT: Well, neither does anyone else.

O'REILLY: Well, wait. Wait, wait, wait. If you look — if you look at the ad, if you look at the tone of the ad, all right, I mean, because television is all subliminal. You know that. There's a message on the screen, but there's another message.

And the other message is, hey, you know, this is a lark, and yes, there is a little bit of danger, so you've got to use this protection, but it's really — look the guy is wearing a dopey hat. And they're rolling around. It makes sex casual, does it not?

FELDT: No, I think not. I think that first of all...

O'REILLY: You say you don't think not.


O'REILLY: Explain the guy's hat.

FELDT: May I tell you why? OK.

O'REILLY: Explain the guy's hat, though.

FELDT: The guy's hat is about humor. And we have a culture in which it is very difficult for people to even acknowledge sexuality, to recognize — and the first step to being responsible is to acknowledge you're going to be having sex. And so use — the use of humor in an ad like this is very helpful to break down that barrier.

And in fact, if you look at other countries, other industrialized countries where the teen pregnancy rate, the abortion rates, the sexually transmitted infection rates, Bill, are all lower than they are in the United States by a factor of sometimes nine times, and they run ads like this all the time. They use humor, and they try to make people comfortable about sexuality, because you have to own your sexuality.

And one of the things I actually really like about this ad is that the woman is obviously not a victim. She is empowered. She is able to say, "Look, if this is what I'm going to do, then I am going to be responsible. I'm educated."


FELDT: "I'm going to use prevention." And I think that's a good healthy message.

O'REILLY: Now Ms. Wright, if somebody said to you, "Hey, you're overreacting. This is just an encouragement to not have an out of wedlock pregnancy and to use a barrier. And you're really overreacting to something that anybody who watches MTV" — because if you do watch that network, I mean they show stuff a thousand times worse than this. So you're overreacting. How would you answer that?

WRIGHT: Well, the message of this ad is clearly trying to get across that if you use condoms then you're fully protected. But condoms are not 100 percent preventative against pregnancy.

O'REILLY: But it's really the best you have — look, outside of abstinence, that's the best method you have to protect yourself. So if you — see, what I'm trying to get across to you...

WRIGHT: What about monogamy?

O'REILLY: Yes, OK. But again, they may be monogamous, and they don't want to have a child. I don't know and I don't care. I don't care. I don't want to get involved in the dopey ad. All right.

But what I'm saying to you is this: Look, the reality is that human beings are going to do certain things. Now, you may think it's bad for them. But they're going to do it anyway. If they do it anyway, should there be something to encourage them not to inflict greater damage?

WRIGHT: See, that's where the ad goes over the line. It's not just saying, "Look, we know you're going to be sexually active, and so just be sure to use a condom." It goes further than that. It encourages presenting sex as recreation, and that's what's getting so many young people to be susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases.

O'REILLY: That's in the culture anyway, though, you know? You know what I'm talking about? Sex as recreation is in the culture.

WRIGHT: Well, think about it. Smoking is in our culture, as well. And yet, if you see ads for smoking, you see all kinds of precautions and...

O'REILLY: Ms. Wright, that's a great point. You just made an excellent point. Smoking used to be recreation, too.

How do you respond to that?

FELDT: Well, there's a big difference between smoking and sex. You don't need to ever smoke.

O'REILLY: Well, I mean, some people would say, you know...

FELDT: Human beings — you can live without sex, but let's face it. Most human beings, almost 100 percent, will have sex at some point in their lives. And it's — recreational sex when it's in a healthy, responsible, caring, loving relationship is a wonderful thing.

O'REILLY: But why didn't we see that — why didn't we see that in the ad?

FELDT: I think that's exactly what we saw in the ad.

O'REILLY: I saw power tools and a guy with a hat on. I didn't see any other thing. Did I miss it? Look, there's the guy with the hat.

FELDT: Look, I think you're having a hard time recognizing that it's really great to talk about healthy, responsible, pleasurable sexuality, but be prepared, use prevention, be educated, be responsible.

O'REILLY: All right. Ladies, very interesting discussion. We appreciate you both coming in. Thank you very much.

FELDT: Thank you.

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