What are your kids learning about pregnancy options?

Education For Choice (EFC) is a project within the national young people’s sexual health charity Brook. We have worked for the past 20 years to ensure that all young people have access to evidence-based, impartial information and good quality education on pregnancy options.

EFC is currently working on an advocacy project relating to the education young people receive on the topic of pregnancy decision-making and abortion. Good education in this area helps young people to think about the importance of safer sex; increases motivation to use contraception properly and consistently; improves knowledge of all their pregnancy options and understanding of abortion; as well as giving young people a safe and sensitive environment in which to consider their own beliefs and opinions.

However, we have found that a number of schools are inviting in speakers who give young people inaccurate information and seek to stigmatise abortion as a pregnancy option. We speak to many young people who believe damaging myths about pregnancy and abortion and hear from professionals working with women that the myths they heard at school remain with them into adulthood.

We are currently gathering evidence and information which will raise awareness and understanding of this issue, and it would be really useful to hear from parents of school age children.
Do you know what your child(ren)’s school teaches about abortion? EFC would like to hear from parents on this issue – see our website for more information:

If you are willing to answer a few questions about this topic over email please get in touch with efc[at]brook.org.uk. If you have a teenager who would be happy to ask questions about what they learned at school please get them to fill in this survey.

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Demonstration against abstinence bill

Later this month the House of Commons will debate a new bill proposing that girls (yes just the girls!) get sexual abstinence education. As a group campaigning for all children (yep boys too!) to be taught a comprehensive evidence-based SRE curriculum, P4SRE opposes this bill. Here’s the information we’ve been sent about a demonstration against the bill. Do sign up and get involved….

On 20 January 2012, Nadine Dorries’ proposed amendment to sex education, Bill 185, which suggests GIRLS be taught abstinence, is due to get a second reading in parliament.

A demonstration opposing the bill  starts at 10:30am at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, outside Parliament. Details of the demo are here.
  • The bill is sexist as it positions girls as being solely responsible for decisions about sexual activity and boys as having no responsibility for ensuring that sex is mutually wanted, fully consenting and safe.
  • Dorries even said that teaching children to ‘say no’ could reduce child abuse. This victim blaming is dangerous, incorrect, and offensive to survivors of abuse.
  • Abstinence education on its own is ineffective in reducing teenage pregnancies and STI rates. Good quality comprehensive Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) should already explicitly address the option of abstinence as part of decision-making about sex, and safer sex.
  • SRE should be informative and fact based. Some of the most important bits of SRE, which really help young people to take responsibility for themselves and make healthy decisions (namely the relationships and communication aspects), are optional for schools and this bill will not change that. If this bill passes, some schools could end up only teaching the biology of reproduction and STIs (within the science curriculum) plus abstinence.

If Dorries really wanted to help young women to stay safe and healthy she would be advocating for statutory, comprehensive sex and relationships education for all young people, of all genders, and in all schools whether they are faith schools, academies, free schools or community schools. Her party in Government has already stated that they have no intention of making SRE statutory.

More information on the campaign can be found at Stop Dorries and the demonstration.