The Independent reports ‘Life’, which received £49,000 from the Big Lottery Fund last year, previously published a leaflet linking abortion to breast cancer.
The anti-abortion charity at the centre of the tampon tax funding row gave talks in nearly 200 schools last year – despite the Government advising teachers to avoid “polarised” classroom debates on abortion.
Life, which advocates against abortion in all circumstances, even in cases of rape, received a controversial £250,000 grant from a government fund raised through tax on sanitary products.
The pro-life group said this money would support a project for homeless pregnant women in London, but MPs and campaigners said it was inappropriate for the group to receive Government funding and raised concerns about Life’s presence in schools.
“Having fought so long and hard for sex and relationship education to get into schools, and very carefully for the principle of balanced and accurate information, I don’t believe they meet that test,” said Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow.
“We’re a democracy and a free country, we must be able to set up organisations like Life. But there’s a big difference between having an organisation like that and the government funding them to promote the kinds of views they espouse.”
Life says it delivers talks to 25,000 pupils in UK schools each year, including “life before birth” sessions for primary school pupils and a presentation on abortion for teenagers.
Laura Hurley, who led a 2013 report into abortion education in UK schools by the sexual health charity Brook, said her research had revealed a number of instances where pro-life groups speaking in schools had offered misinformation about contraception and abortion.
Life, which received £49,000 from the Big Lottery Fund last year, previously published a leaflet linking abortion to breast cancer, which has not been proven by scientific studies.
The group said it does not include misleading or inconclusive scientific information about abortion in its school presentations, adding that its education programme was “professional” and “non-confrontational”.
The Department for Education said: “We are introducing a new comprehensive programme of age-appropriate content on Relationships and Sex Education which will include updated guidance for schools, including how to discuss the topic of abortion.
“Schools will have flexibility over how they deliver this new programme, so they can develop an approach that is sensitive to the needs of the local community; and in the case of faith schools, in accordance with their faith.”
Should the organisation ‘Life’ be allow to deliver their programme in schools? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin
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