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11 September 2006

Teach abortion facts in school, say government advisors

Schoolchildren should be given information about abortion in Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons, the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy has recommended.

In its annual report released on 7 September, the advisory group (TPIAG) called for young people’s health needs to be prioritised in the NHS and expressed concern at the closure of contraceptive services in the community. It also recommended that teenagers be offered a full choice of contraceptive methods, including long-lasting ones, and condoms should be widely available at low cost, or no cost, to young people in places that are used and accessible, including shops, sports facilities and further education colleges.

For the fourth year running, the group called for Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), including sex and relationship education, to be a statutory part of the national curriculum at all key stages, and argued that this should include information about abortion.

In a foreward to the annual report, the TPIAG’s chair, Gill Frances OBE, wrote:

‘Pregnant young women and their partners need to understand all the options open to them, including abortion, so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to continue with their pregnancy. We are concerned that Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) programmes very often avoid the subject and do not provide sufficient evidence based information about abortion, therefore leaving pregnant teenagers ill-equipped to assess abortion as an option. Many myths prevail, including the fact that abortion may lead to infertility, which TPIAG is concerned may be a contributory factor to repeat abortions.’

Advisory group urges government to cover ‘basics’ in tackling teenage pregnancy, Teenage Pregnancy Unit press release, 7 September 2006
Annual Report 2005/6, TPIAG

Abortion lessons for schoolchildren, London Evening Standard, 8 September 2006