Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Nadine Dorries and the crackpot Christians
Earlier this afternoon, a bill proposing the teaching of abstinence to girls in sex and relationship education lessons passed a first vote in the House of Commons.
Proposed by the moralising anti-abortion Tory MP Nadine Dorries, (the same Nadine Dorries who had an affair with her best friend’s husband) the motion reads:
"That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require schools to provide certain additional sex education to girls aged between 13 and 16; to provide that such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity; and for connected purposes."
The motion talks only about girls, reflecting the conservative view that it’s female sexuality that is the real problem, while unknowingly insulting boys, who apparently know no better.
The American Academy of Paediatrics has this to say on abstinence related teaching:
“Abstinence-only programs are not only ineffective but may cause harm by providing inadequate and inaccurate information and resulting in participants’ failure to use safer sex practices once intercourse is initiated.”
Backing the motion is the Conservative Christian Fellowship, a group of Tory MPs dedicated to rolling back the right of women to control their own reproduction.
Thanks largely to our lazy MPs not bothering to turn up, the motion passed by 67-61 votes.
On the back of winning this vote Dorries will likely get the publicity she craves – the real objective of the motion, for a change in the law at this point is extremely unlikely.
Together with Frank Field and a grouping of socially conservative MPs, Dories has already been attempting to get Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill amended so as to give "independent information, advice and counselling services for women requesting termination of pregnancy to the extent that the consortium considers they will choose to use them."
"Independent" information in this instance means information given by bodies who do not themselves provide abortions. As pointed out at Liberal Conspiracy, the aim of the amendment is to "exclude some of the most knowledgeable providers of information to women on abortions."
Nadine Dorries' bill should be seen as part of a wider effort to push back women's rights and foister fundamentalist, crackpot beliefs on the rest of us.