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BHA welcomes new report on misleading abortion education in UK schools

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the publication today of a new report by Education For Choice (EFC), examining the quality of education on abortion and contraception in UK schools. The report, Abortion Education in the UK: Failing our young people?, follows on from a number of high profile incidents involving anti-abortion groups which the BHA and EFC helped expose over the past year.

In 2011, the BHA and EFC encouraged local campaign groups to attend events being held for parents by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), where they misled parents about the nature and purpose of sex education in schools. The BHA and EFC also subsequently found SPUC claiming that abortion causes breast cancer; that ‘post abortion trauma’ causes depression and suicide; and that the morning after pill can cause abortion. None of these claims are true.

After this behaviour was reported on The Guardian’s front page, the EFC and the BHA also worked to expose similar claims being made by LIFE and Lovewise, two other groups which are also opposed to abortion and do work in schools.

As a consequence of these revelations thirteen national organisations came together to sign a letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove, organised by the BHA and EFC, to ask him to issue guidance to stop false claims being made in schools about abortion and contraception.

Education For Choice has today published a report on their wider findings in this area, both looking in more depth at anti-abortion groups and also talking to young people and parents about their experiences. The report makes a number of recommendations as to how to improve the quality and accuracy of education in this area, and how to prevent external groups from making false or inappropriate claims.

BHA Education Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘We welcome today’s report on the fundamentally important topic of abortion education, which provides an accurate assessment of the concerning situation in UK schools. It is vital that all pupils receive accurate and impartial education about abortion and contraception, and that no more young people are misled by the dangerous claims we have seen being made over the previous year. We urge the Government to adopt the recommendations made, and make appropriate changes to sex education guidance as part of its ongoing review into Personal, Social, Health and Economic education.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson on 0781 55 89 636 or at richy@humanism.org.uk.

Read the new report, Abortion Education in the UK: Failing our young people?: http://www.brook.org.uk/professionals/about-brook/education-for-choice

Read EFC’s blog on the report’s launch: http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/efc-report-into-abortion-education-in.html

Read today’s coverage in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/04/sex-education-women-relationships

Read the BHA’s previous coverage on:

SPUC: http://humanism.org.uk/2012/03/23/news-1009/
LIFE: http://humanism.org.uk/2012/07/26/news-1087/
Lovewise: http://humanism.org.uk/2012/07/20/news-1083/
The joint letter: http://humanism.org.uk/2012/04/28/news-1031/

Read more about the British Humanist Association’s work on Sex and Relationships Education: http://www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/sex-and-relationships-education

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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