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Anti-choice group’s school presentations spread misinformation about abortion and contraception

Presentations sold by anti-abortion group Lovewise include misinformation around abortion and contraception. The inaccuracies have been uncovered by the British Humanist Association (BHA) and Education For Choice (EFC), after the groups and their supporters submitted Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to a large number of schools which had previously had Lovewise in to talk, or bought materials from them.

Claims made by Lovewise include:

  • In their abortion presentation: ‘Physical consequences of abortion to the mother’ in the long term include ‘Breast cancer – twice the risk’ – but Cancer Research UK explains that ‘pregnancies that end in an abortion do not increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer later in life’.
  • In their abortion presentation: Asking ‘What are the emotional consequences of abortion?’, the group say ‘Depression – up to 3 times more likely to get depressed’ and ‘Violent death – 7 times more likely to commit suicide’. However, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ systematic review, ‘Induced Abortion and Mental Health’ explains that ‘The rates of mental health problems for women with an unwanted pregnancy were the same whether they had an abortion or gave birth’. Furthermore, the study cited on suicide rates was rated as ‘very poor’ in that same systematic review.
  • In their abortion presentation: ‘Is abortion after rape the answer? A survey showed 70% had their babies – none regretted it [while] ‘93% of those who aborted regretted it’. The book cited is by an American campaigner who has also said that ‘The similarity between Nazi manipulations of the Jews and the abortionists’ manipulation of women faced with crisis pregnancies is striking.’
  • In the contraception presentation: ‘The “morning-after pill” sometimes or often works by causing an early abortion’ – but legally and medically, emergency hormonal contraception does not end an established pregnancy and is therefore not the same as abortion.
  • Lovewise’s ‘Statement of Faith’ says that ‘We are committed to the truths of historic, Biblical Christianity, including the rightness of practicing sex only within a heterosexual marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life.’

Earlier this year, a secret recording of a school talk given by anti-abortion group the Society of the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) revealed that they are making similar claims to pupils. The recording was made by members of Feminist Action Cambridge at the instigation of the BHA and EFC, and following on from that, the two organisations united with 11 other national organisations to write to Michael Gove about SPUC, Lovewise and Life and express concerns at the false claims being made.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘Deciding whether to have an abortion can be a difficult decision, and as such, it is extremely disappointing to see Lovewise trying to scare young people out of making that decision by using misinformation in their presentations. It is vitally important that children get the facts about abortion and contraception, and are not provided with misinformation from groups such as Lovewise, SPUC and Life.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 0773 843 5059.

Read Education For Choice’s latest blog post on Lovewise: http://www.educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/lovewise-in-schools.html

Read the Huffington Post UK lead article, ‘Christian Group Lovewise Teaches School Children “Most Rape Victims Regret Abortion”’, 19 July 2012: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/18/abortion-anti-choice-christian-group-lovewise-british-schoolchildren-abortion-leads-to-holes-in-the-womb_n_1682856.html

Read the Daily Mail article, “Christian charity tells schoolchildren abortion ‘doubles risk of breast cancer”’, 19 July 2012: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2176020/Christian-charity-tells-schoolchildren-abortion-doubles-risk-breast-cancer.html

Read the previous BHA and EFC press release, ‘Leading national organisations unite to ask Gove to prevent anti-abortion groups making false claims in schools’, 28 April 2012: https://humanism.org.uk/news/view/1031

Read the previous BHA and EFC press release, ‘Secret recordings reveal anti-abortion group spreading falsehoods in schools’, 23 March 2012: https://humanism.org.uk/news/view/1009

Read the reports from Milton Keynes, Wakefield, Bournemouth and Cambridge, the leaflet given out by SPUC to parents, and Education for Choice’s analysis of the claims presented: https://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/spuc-school-talks-supporting-materials.pdf

Read more about the British Humanist Association’s work on Sex and Relationships Education: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/sex-and-relationships-education

Read EFC’s blog posts relating to anti-choice groups in schools: http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/safe-at-school-abortion-education.html

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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