British School Teachers Say Abortion Should be Taught to Teens

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British School Teachers Say Abortion Should be Taught to Teens Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 4, 2005

London, England ( — A new poll shows most British secondary school teachers believe students should be told how to obtain an abortion. Sixty-nine percent of the 700 teachers surveyed approved of lessons on abortion. Eighty-four percent said students should be told about the morning-after abortion pill.

But, more than 75 percent thought parents should be told if their child wants an abortion. In fact, most teachers were very uncomfortable about a child seeking an abortion without her parents being notified.

The poll indicates that teachers are divided about whether schools should provide confidential counseling to teenage girls who become pregnant. Forty-seven percent are against such counseling, while 45 percent are in favor of it.

Under current school policy, the topic of abortion is optional and schools are advised to respect the religious sensitivities of children and parents.

Britain currently has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe. The government has said it wants to cut the teen pregnancy rate in half by 2010. One in every 10 babies born in England is born to a teen mother. With girls under the age of 16, half of pregnancies end in abortion.

The British government has said that when abortion is covered within a school, “the challenge is to offer pupils the opportunity to explore the dilemmas, enable them to know and understand abortion, appreciate the validity of opposing views, and develop the communication skills to discuss it with parents and health professionals.”

John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told the British press, “It is absolutely not the teacher’s role to promote (the) killing of unborn children, but full expert information about what abortion involves should be provided."

Meanwhile, a British woman is launching a legal challenge to a provision that prevents parents from being informed when their teenage daughters are considering abortion.

Sue Axon, the mother of two daughters age 12 and 15, is expected to receive a hearing in her case in March.

"I feel that as a mother, they have taken away my right to protect my children. I am prepared to make a stand and challenge them," Axon said. "I want legislation to allow me to be told – not necessarily to stop it – but to be informed at least."

Axon’s case has the support of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

"We are very much behind such a case," Smeaton said last year. "We think it outrageous that children can seek to have an abortion without parental consent."

Guidelines from the Department of Health currently state that the teenager’s right to medical confidentiality supersedes the right of parents to be involved in knowing about their children’s medical condition.

The law touched off a firestorm of controversy last year when a mother complained that her daughter’s school sent her to have a secret abortion.

Related web sites:

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –