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Planned Parenthood 'CTR' campaign draws ire

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SALT LAKE CITY — Planned Parenthood Association of Utah's use of a common Mormon saying and symbol on packages of condoms has drawn the ire of some who find the design offensive and possibly a trademark violation.

The reproductive health organization posted a photo of the condoms — which feature the letters "CTR" against a pink shield — on its Facebook page Monday.

The design is a reference to an LDS hymn about making good choices called "Choose the Right.” It is also an integral part of the church's program to prepare children, ages 5 to 7, on the road to baptism as they develop and prepare to make a committment to Jesus Christ. Many children are given rings emblazoned with a shield and the letters "CTR" as a reminder of the Choose the Right message.

Church spokeswoman Kristen Howey declined to comment on the issue other than to say that CTR is a registered trademark owned by the Church and its affiliated organizations. She said the Church did not give Planned Parenthood permission to use it.

After deleting the first post, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, which also fights for abortion rights and family planning, re-posted the photo Tuesday afternoon and said the intent was to “use this imagery to foster an important conversation about condom use and safe sex in the big-tent LDS community.”

The condoms were designed specifically to give away at the annual 2016 Salt Lake Summer Symposium of Sunstone magazine, the organization said.

"While we acknowledge that this tongue-in-cheek messaging does not appeal to all audiences, Planned Parenthood often uses humor as a rhetorical device to spark open, honest conversations about sex," the organization wrote.

Stanford Swim, chairman of the conservative Sutherland Institute think tank, said in a statement Tuesday that young people "do deserve the truth about safe sex — which is that it is safest to share a sexual relationship only with their marital partner."

"That choice dramatically reduces their likelihood of experiencing poverty, keeps them free to pursue their academic and career goals, and protects them and their children from the emotional and physical harm which too often follows casual sexual relationships," Swim said.

Asked specifically about the appropriateness of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah's use of the CTR imagery on the condoms, he replied, "I think it speaks for itself."

The post comes two weeks after the reproductive health organization won a preliminary injunction against Gov. Gary Herbert in an ongoing lawsuit over federal funds that the governor tried to block from Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

On the organization’s Facebook page, some said they found the design to be witty and thought-provoking; others said it was inappropriate and possibly a trademark infringement.

Randall Bateman, a registered patent attorney with Snow, Christensen & Martineau, said the trademark issue boils down to whether the organization's use of the logo creates "likelihood of confusion."

"If some percentage of the population would see that and think, 'Oh, these are somehow sponsored by the LDS Church or approved by the LDS Church, then that would be trademark infringement," Bateman said.

Planned Parenthood Association of Utah officials said only Karrie Galloway, president of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah could comment further and she was not available.

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Daphne Chen


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