14-year-old girls to be taught about their ‘right’ to have an abortion (UK)

Telegraph (UK) 26 Nov 08 

Schoolgirls as young as 14 could be forced to watch a film that teaches them they have the right to choose an abortion. The film puts forward the idea that it is up to a woman if she wants to terminate her pregnancy, and makers claim only a few are left traumatised by the procedure. Made by the Family Planning Association, Why Abortion? shows a range of scenarios in which actresses justify abortion on the grounds that they cannot afford to have a child or that it could jeopardise their relationship with parents or boyfriends. Their choices are then debated in the video by a group of teenagers from Northern Ireland – where abortion remains illegal – with the majority defending women’s right to choose. They claim that abortion is legal and safe, and that religious leaders shouldn’t “moralise or dictate” about the issue.

The pro-choice FPA says that abortion is a fact of life and so it makes sense for teenagers to learn about it. England and Wales has the second-highest termination rate in Europe, with 205,600 abortions carried out in 2007, while Labour MPs rejected moves to cut the upper time limit from 24 to 20 weeks earlier this year. It comes just weeks after the Government announced that sex and relationships education will become compulsory in primary schools as part of a drive to cut teenage pregnancy rates. The National Children’s Bureau also wants all secondary schools to have on-site sexual health clinics, while girls as young as 13 will be urged to have contraceptive injections and implants.