13 September 2010
ByAppeared in BioNews 575
A conservative health think tank has criticised the NHS for spending an estimated £700 of public funds per year on pornography.
Roughly one in three of the 92 NHS hospitals with fertility clinics surveyed by 2020health.org provide pornographic material to male donors to help them produce a sperm sample.
2020health.org claims the NHS is implicitly 'sanctioning' pornography in the workplace and 'fostering unhealthy attitudes of the opposite sex' by turning a blind eye to the practice, even when the pornography is sourced free-of-charge.
'Seventy seven per cent of the NHS workforce is female and they should never have to work in an environment that endorses pornography', said 2020health.org director and author, Ms Julia Manning.
The report accuses the NHS of 'effectively suggesting to a man that rather than thinking of his partner, he should sexually objectify an unknown women while producing a specimen'. It concludes that offering pornography demeans female staff and women, encourages 'adultery of the mind' for couples seeking fertility treatment and ignores the potentially harmful 'impact of the addictive nature of pornography' on these men.
The report also details a raft of negative consequences associated with the porn industry, including the 'increasing use' of younger women, violence and 'surgically enhanced women'. One study cited finds 'the gap between the reality of the woman's body and the fantasy portrayed leaves men and women less able to connect'.
2020health.org advocates a zero-tolerance policy, demanding the government ban pornography in NHS fertility clinics immediately.
Fifteen clinics obtained pornographic materials free through donations. One trust borrowed its pornography from a private clinic. The remaining eighteen hospitals purchased their porn; two directly from publishers, prompting Ms Manning to fear 'manipulation by sex industry' as it targets a potential 'new market'.
The annual spend per trust averaged £21.32 on magazines and similar for DVDs. Ms Manning concedes public expenditure is 'small' but she trumpets the 'principle'; and labelled the practice an 'inexcusable' violation of NHS public mandate to promote 'treatment with dignity and respect'.
The report rejects any 'spurious claim' that pornography is necessary in these circumstances by pointing to the two-thirds of NHS fertility clinics that reportedly don't offer pornography. Men who require external assistance should produce sperm samples at home and bring them into the clinic, wrote Ms Manning.