Farewell from Education For Choice

// 30 April 2010

I’ve lobbied my MP, I’ve waved placards, I’ve donated money. I’ve argued with my friends, my colleagues, with strangers. I’ve shouted into a megaphone. On one memorable occasion I carried a flaming torch around Bloomsbury. I’ll go a long way to defend the principle of a woman’s right to choose. But until I joined the trustee board of Education For Choice I confess I hadn’t given enough thought to exactly who was making the choice, and what the reality of their situation might be like.

One of the things that first appealed to me about EFC was the fact that all their work is grounded in the experiences of the young people they talk to. They speak with absolute authority when they say, as Kate did in her post a couple weeks ago, that much of the information young people receive about abortion is little better than anti-abortion propaganda. Not just partial, not just biased, not just alarming and distressing, but outright lies.

I didn’t know the extent of it. My school sex education was laughable, but we never had any outside visitors stop by to show us horrific photographs (and for that I am thankful as it would have made my job as the only feminist in the village even more difficult). Learning about EFC was the first time I really understood how hard it must be for young women to make choices about pregnancy and abortion, perhaps without support, and in many cases without the facts.

Education For Choice works to ensure that young people can access the information that is theirs by right, and make informed choices about pregnancy and abortion. By directly providing vital facts and resources to fight the frightening myths spread by the anti-abortion movement, they make a real difference to the lives of women and girls across the country.

And I mean ‘across the country’: EFC staff regularly trek around England providing training to equip teachers and other professionals with the practical advice and resources they need to have an open, balanced discussion about sex, pregnancy and abortion, and to allow young people to make up their own minds.

It would be nice if we didn’t have to fight for decent sex education, support for all pregnancy choices and free access to safe abortion every single decade, but that doesn’t look like changing any time soon. After recent talk of cutting the late term abortion time limit, we’ll be hearing a lot more about abortion during and possibly after the election. Rest assured you’ll be hearing a lot more from Education For Choice as well.

The EFC staff blogging here might not want to ask you for money, but a good trustee should also be a shameless fundraiser, so I *will* ask for your support. Education For Choice reaches thousands of young people every year on a shoestring budget, and anything you can give will help to make sure young people across the UK have the facts about abortion. You can make a donation online here.

This is the end of EFC’s month as guest bloggers (okay, it’s past the end- but 1 May is close enough). Thank you for having us -we’ve really enjoyed it, and we hope you’ll stay in touch. If you’d like more information about our work, or you’d like to get involved, please email Kate at kate [at] efc.org.uk. Also keep your eyes peeled for a notice about EFC’s brand new, very own blog, to be launched soon!

Sarah Jackson is a trustee of Education For Choice.

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