Anti-choicers in a school near you
Jess McCabe // 26 November 2008
Anti-choice groups such as the ‘Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child’ are being invited to give presentations at secondary schools:
Rawnie Chapman-Kitchin, 15, was aghast when her teacher compared abortion to Nazism, saying that in time history would view both with the same revulsion. “I’d been expecting a regular RE class, but a different teacher was called in to do a talk called Abortion is Murder,” she says. “He showed horrifying pictures of dead foetuses, but there was no opportunity to opt out. It was very much a case of ‘this is the way you need to think’.
The Guardian reported on a glut of anti-choice propoganda making its way into the school system earlier this week. From the feature it doesn’t sound like schools are providing a counterbalance by asking groups such as Abortion Rights to give presentations from the other perspective:
Samantha Bracey, Rawnie’s mother, is amazed that more parents, and schools, are not taking a stand. “I was really concerned when my daughter told me about the disturbing images she was shown, and even more so when I discovered she’d been told abortions were carried out via caesarean section [called hysterotomy abortions], which isn’t true. The teacher consistently referred to the embryo or foetus – medically recognised terms – as a baby, and claimed that pro-abortionists did not use the term ‘baby’ as it was too emotive.”
When Bracey approached the school – Chapel-en-le-Frith high school in Derbyshire – she was assured that, in future, pro-choice opinions would be explored within the class. “But the teacher who gave the talk still said his intention would be to win his argument, which seems to me to be missing the purpose of education,” she says. “Surely issues like abortion should be addressed in a way that makes all the facts available, rather than merely opinion, thus enabling the students to reach a conclusion by informed debate. When it comes to abortion, it’s so important – it can affect the rest of their lives.”
Meanwhile, the FPA has today launched a DVD for use in schools called Why Abortion? From their press release:
Why Abortion? can be used with any young person aged 14 and above by teachers, youth and community workers, social services and health professionals. It is also suitable for work with adults, particularly women’s groups.
The DVD uses short drama pieces to portray different situations that women face in relation to an unplanned pregnancy. There are nine scenarios in total and each is followed by a discussion among a group of young people.
Why Abortion? raises issues around abortion for both women and men. One scenario explores the feelings of a woman’s partner as he tries to come to terms with an unplanned pregnancy. The DVD is accompanied by a manual to help guide professionals working through some of these complex issues. The DVD can be used by schools within Personal, Social and Health Education or Religious Education classes.
Julie Bentley, Chief Executive, fpa said: “Behind every abortion statistic is a woman making a difficult decision about her life. Why Abortion? will provide an excellent starting point for a discussion around abortion issues and will give people the chance to explore the many reasons why women may choose to have an abortion.
“One in five pregnancies (1) ends in abortion and one in two men knows a woman who has had an abortion (2)”, continued Julie. “Abortion is a fact of life that affects both women and men. Therefore, it is important that young people’s education includes the opportunity to discuss important issues such as this in a safe and supportive environment.”