Abstinence only sex-ed – for girls only – passes first reading

chastitybelt.jpgA measure to introduce mandatory abstinence only sex education – but only for girls – passed its first reading in the Commons today, 67-61.

Who introduced this bill? Our friend Nadine Dorries.

Sunny at Liberal Conspiracy breaks down the situation.

It seems almost redundant to have to go through all the reasons why abstinence only sex-ed is a bad idea, or to spell out exactly how revealing it is that Dorries’ bill doesn’t even pretend to suggest that teenage boys should also be encouraged to remain abstinent.

Education for Choice has gamely spelt all this out for you should you need the 101 explanation, or want a reference point to send to the unconvinced:

I’m baffled as to how we could make one aspect of sex education compulsory and leave the rest to the whim and whimsy of schools to deliver as and when they see fit. As it stands, Dorries’ motion is strong on implication, poor on understanding of contemporary practice, and weak on practical help for young people. If Dorries truly wants to empower young people and improve their health she should join the chorus of voices crying out for delivery of comprehensive SRE to all our students in all our schools and all our communities, because only by providing that will we give our young people the power to say NO as well as YES and NOT NOW or MAYBE ANOTHER TIME.

Which: yes, absolutely, all this is true. Of course, Dorries is never going to get on board with such a proposal, because we can all see the place she is coming from on this issue. I think Sunny is absolutely correct to link this to Dorries’ other pet project, the erosion of abortion access.

It’s disappointing and worrying that the motion passed its first reading.

Pointed photo of a chastity belt by Pgd, shared on Flickr under a Creative Commons license