*bangs on a drum loudly until have attention of all teachers across the land*
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
Inviting anti-abortion organisations into schools IS ABSOLUTELY NOT “enabling students to be able to come to a balanced view of the topic” (as one teacher claimed when the Guardian exposed what was being covered by such organisations*)
Schools often like to stimulate interesting debate about abortion by inviting speakers from pro-choice organisations to balance the views given by ‘pro-life’ (anti-abortion) organisations. Anti-abortion organisations think that abortion is unacceptable in any situation and would like to see the practice outlawed. The opposing view to this would be a pro-abortion stance – the view that abortion is always the right solution to unwanted pregnancy. This is not a view held by any organisation. Instead, agencies that value young people’s health and recognise their rights will support an individual to make their own decision about pregnancy for themselves. The view of these organisations is balanced, in and of itself.
Debating the issues from a pro-abortion v anti-abortion perspective does not help young people to acquire the attitudes, skills and knowledge they need to be able to make their own, informed choices about sex, pregnancy and abortion. Instead it simplifies the issues, stigmatises abortion as an option, and polarises the discussion, which the Department for Education advises against:
“It is all too easy to create a classroom debate in which pupils’ views become polarised and miss the purpose of sex and relationship education in preparing pupils for the responsibilities and challenges of adult life. When abortion is covered within a programme, the challenge is to offer young people the opportunity to explore the dilemmas, enable them to know and understand about abortion, and develop the communication skills to discuss it with parents and health professionals.”
Sex and Relationship Education Guidance, DfEE, 2000