The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is very unhappy. A pilot-scheme is due to be launched in schools in Merton, south London, that will include a module on fertility for 16-18 year-olds as part of their sexual health and relationships education. The module will educate girls about the risks of delaying motherhood until their late thirties, while informing boys that smoking and STIs can damage their fertility too.
BPAS’s website states, “Education is a key part of our remit as a charity”, and below it includes testimonials from nurses and teachers who have run “abortion care workshops” in schools using BPAS resources.
A testimonial from a person who leads these BPAS-approved sessions for 13-14 year-olds, states: “I have lost count of the number of girls who said that they are now more informed, wiser, found the session really useful, had no idea of the range of contraceptives there were available, how to get free contraception, they now know how to get free and confidential advice and a few who said they would now wait!”
But the organisation’s appetite for education is limited when it comes to actually educating girls about conception.
Responding to the news of the Merton pilot scheme, BPAS’s spokeswoman Clare Murphy dismissed it as “absurd” declaring: “Enough is enough. There is no fertility crisis in this country. Women are simply starting their families later, and doing so for many understandable reasons … The risks of waiting longer to start a family should never be overstated, and where older motherhood may carry slightly increased medical risks, the answer is to ensure our maternity services can cater for women’s needs – not put young women under even more pressure about their biological clock.”
So there you have it, BPAS deems itself the arbiter of what education girls can and cannot stomach and interestingly the country’s biggest abortion provider has ruled that educating girls about abortion and how to get one is essential, while deepening their understanding of how fertility works is “absurd”.
Perhaps it is time BPAS considered changing their name or at least reminding themselves what the “P” in BPAS stands for.