After 20 years of advocating for evidence-based abortion education EFC was pleased to see the front page of this weekend’s Guardian exposing a SPUC school presentation which delivered many of the false claims about abortion we take to task on this very blog. The talk at Comberton Village College in Cambridge contained misinformation about abortion, including claims that it can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, infertility and so called ‘post-abortion trauma’.
The public were rightfully outraged but unfortunately this isn’t a one-off. It’s not just SPUC giving misinformation and it’s not just at this school. We know, from contact with teachers across the country, that anti-abortion groups are speaking to young people regularly in a range of schools. Whether it’s Lovewise presenting at an Academy in Northumberland, or Life talking to Sixth Formers about sexual health at a Catholic school in Solihull we have a real concern that not all the information will be based on evidence. SPUC, Life and Lovewise all put out literature which gives misinformation about pregnancy, contraception and abortion.
We’ve written before about the problem of schools inviting in groups like this. But we’re still surprised when educators like the Principal at Comberton defend their decision to allow a group to mislead young people about their reproductive health in the interests of ensuring ‘proper balance’. Our criticism remains the same; these groups are entitled to hold a particular viewpoint, but not to use misinformation about a medical procedure to promote this viewpoint to children. ‘Abortion is morally wrong’ is a viewpoint, ‘Abortion causes breast cancer’ is simply unscientific misinformation.
The photo below is an example of a pamphlet provided by Life to a comprehensive school in Wiltshire.