Abstinence Group to Advise UK Government on Sexual Health

From the Guardian:

A group which is opposed to abortion in all circumstances and favours an abstinence-based approach to sex education has been appointed to advise the government on sexual health.

The Life organisation has been invited to join a new sexual health forum set up to replace the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV.

…In contrast, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has been omitted from the forum despite its long-term position on the previous advisory group and 40-year track record in providing pregnancy counselling nationwide.

…The invitation to the group by Anne Milton, the public health minister, appears to have caught some forum members by surprise.

That’s a surprising development from Milton; back in March it was reported that she had stated that a “‘Just say no’ message will not happen on her watch and we should contact her if we hear politicians say it.” This comes in the wake of a motion put forward in Parliament by Nadine Dorries for abstinence materials to be included in sex education.

LIFE, according to its website,

….exists to save lives and transform the futures of some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in the UK by supporting vulnerable pregnant mothers and young families through difficult times, offering them the help they need to turn their lives around.

Among its services are supported accommodation, “non-directive” pregnancy counselling, sex education, and a natural fertility centre. It describes itself as “a non religious, pro-life charity”, and that while “LIFE presentations approach topics from a pro-life perspective… they are not didactic”. Further (emphasis in original):

Many people don’t understand, or have never heard, the reasons for which pro-lifers oppose abortion, embryo research and the legalisation of assisted suicide.  One of the most important aspects of LIFE Education’s work is to explain these reasons, to demonstrate that one can be a pro-lifer and also be reasonable, well-informed and interested in what others have to say

The organisation was founded in 1970 by Professor John Jack Scarisbrick, a historian of the English Reformation, although some of its employees have science backgrounds.

LIFE’s fertility programme promotes natural family-planning through “NaProTechnology” and the “Creighton Model FertilityCare System“; these were devised by Dr Thomas W. Hilgers, who is  the founder of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and a professor at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha (the LIFE website unfortunately confuses Omaha with Utah).

4 Responses

  1. This statement, also in the Guardian piece, seemed in some ways more of a concern.

    “In Richmond, south-west London, the Catholic Children’s Society has taken over the £89,000 contract to provide advice to schoolchildren on matters including contraception and pregnancies.”

    I wasn’t clear – is it your opinion that the statement in bold is obviously false?

  2. It’s always puzzled me that Catholics and similar anti-contraception groups are so fond of ‘natural family planning’. Just what is the difference between avoiding penetrative sexual intercourse on your “fertile” days and using condoms? Aren’t both thwarting God’s plan that all sex must be for procreation?
    Plus (though I could be wrong here) the scientific research involved in modern NFP may well have included processes that resulted in the destruction of embryos.

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