BHA: Secret recordings reveal anti abortion group spreading falsehoods in schools

Secret recordings reveal anti-abortion group spreading falsehoods in schools

by Richy Thompson, Campaigns Officer (Faith Schools and Education), British Humanist Association

The Guardian’s front page on Saturday carried an investigation by the BHA and Education for Choice into the activities and behaviour of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). SPUC is an anti-choice group which, through its ‘Safe at School’ campaign, delivers talks to parents and schoolchildren about the supposed harms of Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), and the dangers of abortion.

Last year, SPUC courted controversy after holding an event for parents in Tower Hamlets. Following on from this, the BHA saw similar events take place in Milton Keynes, Wakefield and Bournemouth, and decided in each case to contact local humanists and encourage attendance. This resulted in some pretty solid evidence of the kind of misinformation being spread. The BHA then contacted experts Education For Choice to work together on next steps.

We agreed there was a need for more evidence, so in November, the editorial of our e-bulletin appealed for ‘members and supporters to find out if their local schools have received a visit from one of the anti-choice groups, and if so, see if they can get copies of any presentations used.’ Following on from this, we were contacted by members of Feminist Action Cambridge, who were due to do a talk in a school on the same day as SPUC. At our encouragement, they managed to stay for and record SPUC’s talk.

You can read our findings, but to summarise, SPUC are presenting a number of untrue claims about abortion, from the invented condition of ‘Post Abortion Trauma’ through to a fictional link between abortion and breast cancer.

Whatever a group’s ideological background, it is important that all the claims they present match up with the evidence. Education For Choice previously exposed SPUC making some of these claims four years ago, and nothing has changed since. When will SPUC stop spreading these untrue stories, and when will the government start properly scrutinising their activities, and the claims they are making in schools?