Anti-abortion group LIFE has come under criticism for making unevidenced claims around abortion, contraception and vaccinations. Claims made by LIFE include that the cervical cancer jab ‘gives young people another green light to be promiscuous’. The inaccuracies have been highlighted following on from a campaign by Education For Choice (EFC) and the British Humanist Association (BHA) to expose the activities of anti-choice groups giving talks to schoolchildren.
Until recently, LIFE claimed on their website that ‘[young people] do have choices about how they live their lives and the HPV vaccine suggests they won’t be able to control themselves. We should have higher expectations for them and show them more respect, not vaccinate them en masse against STIs.’ The claim follows on from recent news that 24 schools have declined to offer girls the cervical cancer jab, with the majority that gave a reason citing religious grounds or the school’s (religious) ethos. LIFE did not cite any evidence in support of their claim.
The BHA and EFC have recently exposed similar claims to those made by LIFE being made by anti-choice groups Lovewise and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). Like those two groups, LIFE frequently gives talks to pupils in schools. A recent Freedom of Information request seen by the BHA shows one school which regularly invites LIFE in to talk is St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls in Carshalton. St Philomena’s was at the centre of a separate controversy earlier this year after it had emerged that the school had followed advice from the Catholic Education Service to promote a petition against same-sex marriage to school pupils.
Earlier this year, the BHA and EFC joined together with 11 other groups to write to Michael Gove to ask that evidence be a criterion in deciding what is taught in sex and relationships education.
BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘It is vitally important that young people receive accurate information around abortion and contraception, and that schools provide young people with the best care possible around sexual health. Lovewise, SPUC and LIFE’s egregious claims seem likely to misinform pupils and damage the care that schools provide, and so we would strongly encourage schools to not invite these groups in.’
Claims made by LIFE
Other claims made by LIFE uncovered by Education For Choice include:
LIFE were at the centre of controversy last year when the Department of Health appointed it as a member to its Sexual Health Forum.
For further comment or information contact BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal at email@example.com or on 0773 843 5059.
Read the Huffington Post UK article, ‘Cervical Cancer Jab “Gives Youngsters Green Light For Promiscuity”, Charity LIFE Says’, 25 July 2012: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/24/hpv-vaccine-green-light-promiscuity-government-advisers_n_1697840.html
Read the previous BHA comment on Lovewise, ‘Anti-choice group’s school presentations spread misinformation about abortion and contraception’, 20 July 2012: https://humanism.org.uk/news/view/1083
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 on SPUC, ‘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
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.