|low graphics version | feedback | help|
|You are in: Talking Point|
Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Is 14 too young to learn about abortion?
A booklet giving advice about abortion to teenagers as young as 14 has angered anti-abortion groups.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The UK Family Planning Association's pamphlet explains attitudes to abortion, what procedures are followed, the law and where to get further advice.
Pro-lifers say it encourages under-age sex, sells abortion and does not promote choice.
But the FPA insist youngsters do not regard abortion as taboo and want to be educated on all aspects of sexual health.
Do you think 14-year-olds are too young to learn about terminating pregnancies, or is it sensible to make young people aware of their options? Send us your views.
Speaking as a parent with two young daughters, I would much prefer ALL the various forms of pregnancy prevention and "cure" be presented to my children and myself in a clear and understandable way. It is then up to me to make sure that my children understand their responsibilities in the matter.
Anita Menezes, Canada
How reassuring to see the 2 sides of the debate unchanged. The "pro-choice" people offering informed debate, and the anti-abortion lobby howling about how it is wrong to destroy "God's creation". When are they going to realise that such pompous rhetoric does nothing except alienate them from the vast majority of young people in the UK who are more pragmatic than they realise?
Do yourselves a favour, and let people decide for themselves. Give them ALL the information and let them get on with it.
I think it is interesting to note that the majority of people who have a problem with abortion seem to be men! They are not the ones that have to go through the trauma of pregnancy and labour.
It seems that many people view pregnancy in terms of black and white and that isn't the case. People shouldn't be forced to have a child if they don't want it or if they are unable to cope. Whilst there are alternatives such as adoption, these can come back to haunt the individual in later years.
You can never be too young to learn about abortion. Some may say this encourages unprotected sex and abortion is an "easy" way out. I am not promoting abortion or sex. What I am trying to put across is that it is better to take precautions when you can rather than seek precautions when you have no choice.
Who else is aware that human life begins at conception? Also, some so-called "forms of contraception" really cause abortions which kill a newly conceived foetus by preventing its implantation in the womb (e.g. the coil and the morning after pill).
If you're physically old enough to have sex then you're old enough to learn about ALL the consequences!!
This society is saturated with sexual imagery and no one in films seems to take precautions. Sex is portrayed as uncontrollable or something that happens shortly after meeting anyone. While abortion should be a possibility, it should also be a last resort.
When are we going to teach teenagers how to say "no"? Prevention must be better than this ghastly "cure".
I am sick of people who brand the pro-lifers as "narrow minded bigots". 14 is too young to have sex at all. If we must make this information available, it should contain ALL the facts, including the possibilities of infertility, serious internal damage, and long-term guilt.
Sahan Amarasekera, UK
If children are to be given the full facts then it should be mandatory to show details of the full abortion procedure. Something hidden from the majority of adults.
The world population needs to be reduced. Abortion education would be most beneficial in addressing this issue.
It's about time women took responsibility for their own actions instead of being looked after by men all the time.
How many of the millions of unborn children that have been aborted could have made a valuable contribution to society? Current levels of abortion are far too high and cast shame on our so-called civilised society. Virginity is a precious gift and young people should be encouraged to retain it until they are mature enough to fully cope with the consequences of their behaviour.
They should be given advice on "how not to get pregnant" instead of "how to get rid of your child". It is not a choice, but a life. The choice should be made beforehand with the use of a pregnancy prevention device or, no sex at all.
In my opinion, young people should be given all of the options, and any advice they can have.
No matter what anti abortionists, think, this is a free country, & every woman or child/woman, should be free to choose, and live with the consequences.
This debacle simply typifies society in England today. We see 14 year old girls having sex and we teach them about abortions, this disgusts me. Why don't we teach them about life and morality? Why don't we send them to school, show them the satisfaction of education? Why don't we show all these people that this is unacceptable?
I have not seen the pamphlet under discussion but as a general principal I would support anything that enables the making of an informed choice. I am firmly pro-life, for both mother and child, and am firmly pro choice, both before sex and after pregnancy.
It is high time that we refused to get into entrenched positions on such important matters, and took into consideration that each individual mother and child is unique and have their own long term needs and priorities.
The first thing that God gave to humanity was freedom of choice. It has never been taken away.
Girls should be taught about abortion at an early age. More importantly, they must be taught how to handle the selfish bigots who protest against abortion rights. And the earlier they learn how to avoid these misguided, selfish zealots, the better.
I was absolutely disgusted to see this leaflet was given out to 14 year olds. To portray abortion as just another form of birth control is plainly wrong. It's no good saying that this is just giving the CHILDREN (and face it that's what they are) the facts and letting them decide for themselves. they are having sex education rammed down their throats as it is , and it still is not stopping teenage pregnancies.
As a physician, I can tell you that even as early as 3 weeks, the "object" being terminated has little hands, like yours, little feet, like yours, and a heart beat, like yours. Let's call "it" what "it" is...a baby in the smallest form. This brochure, if its going to be accurate, should be providing girls with pictures of what exactly will be in their bellies when they get pregnant. But pro-choice advocates don't consult physicians like me when they create their brochures!
If we were less prudish in our schools and society about sex, and treated the subject in a frank, honest and matter-of-fact manner I am certain fewer teenagers would ever get to the stage of requiring an abortion. Of course it isn't a method of contraception, but pragmatically, it is sometimes necessary. Let's limit these incidences and show young adults the respect they deserve by giving them a decent education on all aspects of life.
When I was 11 years old I started receiving detailed sex education lessons with abortion as a topic under that umbrella, our teacher went to a lot of detail with us about the different types of abortion and at how many weeks different methods could be implemented. At no time were we under the impression that abortion could be used as a method of contraception as indeed it shouldn't
This is all part of the furore going on at present that wants to keep our children ignorant on the facts of life (see also Section 28). Anyone who thinks ignorance is a cherished quality ought to walk around with a blindfold on for an hour, then they will know the benefit of knowledge!
It is ironic that children are not legally adult until 18years and yet there are still some people who still want to treat children as adults!!!! Young girls do not need to have a booklet telling them where they can get advice on abortion. It should not be performed on children!! Hasn't the government learned that spending money on these kinds of things does not work! it will only encourage them to have abortions not prevent them.
Anyone who knows about sexual intercourse should also be taught about abortion. It's not a question of ethics, it's a question of sexual sagacity.
14 is too old for this sort of education. I was given school sex education lessons at 11 and even then I think is too old. If you want to educate children on such things as abortion and safe family planning then it should be done early and before the ever early onset of puberty in most teenagers.
And when children are taught about abortion, I think it is important to stress what it entails; the killing of another human being.
Christopher Stalford, United Kingdom
If children knew all the facts, we wouldn't have such a high pregnancy rate in the first place! Abortion is one topic in what is a wide ranging subject area. Personally, I think 10 - 12 year olds should be learning sex education. Teaching this to 14 year olds is quite simply too late in far too many instances. The statistics prove that!
I live in the north of Scotland, the most narrow-minded part of the country. We have the highest rate of abortion in the country, so any education is worth its weight in gold. If I became pregnant accidentally I am glad it is my choice what to do about it.
Growing up outside the UK I started getting sexual education in school at the age of 11. This was then a regular feature until the age of 17, sometimes disguised as biology, other times as information given from the school nurse. We were taught about how to prevent pregnancies, what could happen if we didn't use condoms, the reality of abortions (we knew it was there, but were told never ever to think of it as a contraceptive). I went to a state school and the first one of all my schoolmates who got pregnant was 19 and a half when she had her baby. Most of us hadn't had sex until our 20s. Look at the facts: In countries where they give a good and comprehensive sex education there are less teenage pregnancies and the kids actually abstain from sex until they feel mature enough. It's like alcohol, if you take away the mystery, it won't be half as exciting anymore!
J Taylor, England
I don't think a 14 year old girl is mature enough to handle the risks & challenges of motherhood . Abortion is obviously the only option ...why not make them aware of the option .
Most 14 yr. olds are
sex in the physical
sense. They do need
guidance about the consequences of their actions, and
that guidance is all too often not
available at home.
Properly informed about the physical and psychological
consequences of abortion enables them to make responsible courses of action possible.
I cannot understand
why adults think that children are not sexual beings.
Sex education is good for children at the age of fourteen provided it is an overview of the whole of it and not sporadic information on each of the topics related to sex. The booklet must contain facts about sex without protection, the sexually transmitted diseases that may come about as a consequence, abortion being an option in the event the girl gets pregnant. This overall picture gives children the opportunity to assess the situation as a whole before making any decision.
Hamilton Arrey Ayuk, US
If school children as young as 14 years are to be taught the facts of sex and abortion, give them the whole truth, including the complications and possible life-long consequences of their actions, not just the glossy, rosy perfect images that pro-choice activists always push.
By the age of 14, girls are now empowered to decided, on matters that not even the House of Lords can in this country - give a death sentence. A really healthy attitude to life ! Who is FPA kidding ? Or these are shock tactics to earn high ground over the pro-life ?
Educating children at 14 is a good place to start because they are generally mature enough to understand the importance of the information and at least one will be active already.
There's no point fighting against the facts. We might all agree that 14 is too young to be getting pregnant or even having sex, but if that's what is happening, then withholding information on what to do if pregnancy occurs won't solve anything. Better sex education all round is essential and the facts about abortion should be known - if nothing else, I would have thought it would discourage children from irresponsible behaviour - no one who knows the facts will think abortion is an easy way out.
I think the booklet is a good idea. Better that every girl has the option of what she could do if she got pregnant rather than have pro-lifers preaching about murder to her. If a teenage girl is guilt-tripped into having a baby then any future she may have been considering would be ruined.
It's far better to wait till you're older to have kids so that you can give them what they need.
In my eyes a baby is only a baby when its been born.
Abortion is not murder, it's a choice.
I used to hold broadly pro-abortion views until I saw my daughter's first scan. By all means give 14 year olds the facts - the FULL facts, including the way abortions are carried out, what it involves for the foetus and the long-term health risks for the mother.
I think 14 is too old. Children need a full and balanced sex education long before they become sexually active. In fact I would say that children have a right to this information. It is because we leave these matters too late that the UK has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe.
Teach about sex education but don't make the destruction of life an ok option. As the Bible says, God knew us when we were in the womb and knows the number of hairs on our heads - he is the ultimate and supreme authority and to him should we obey and not commit murder!
The majority of young teenage girls in the UK are physically developed enough to bear a child and they are under massive peer pressure to become sexually active. TV and films portray this as normal. So yes, as a group they should be informed about abortion.
The idea that this information will encourage promiscuity is complete nonsense. Documentary and televisual information available does not glorify abortion. No-one looks forward to the prospect of having one.
If this information informs, then teenagers are made more aware of the consequences of early sexual activity.
David Daly, UK
Why can we not let kids be kids. We stuff their heads with sex education then tell them to go off and don't do it.
I feel that if 14-year-olds feel they're mature enough to have sex, they should also be mature enough to make an informed choice about whether or not to proceed with a pregnancy and into parenthood.
No, I don't think it is. It's a sad fact, but there are a not-insignificant number of girls and boys who are having sex at that age, and are getting pregnant. Information about abortion should be an integral part of sex education for both girls AND boys.
The key in all these cases, in my opinion, is in the information. We need to inform children so they have the information if they need it. This pamphlet seems to do that so I support it fully.
If they don't get the information out of the leaflet then they will get it from somewhere else. Facts are better than information they got from their friends.
Of course teenagers should be taught about abortion. The same goes for general sex education and this should include homosexuality and come to think of it, teenagers should be taught about drugs. Not talking about subjects will mean that teenagers remain naive to facts and details.
Of course, teenagers should be taught about abortion. The same goes for general sex education and this should include homosexuality. Not talking about these subjects will mean that teenagers remain naive to facts and details.
I knew about abortion long before I was 14, and it didn't do me any harm. It hasn't made me rush out to get pregnant just so that I can try it for myself, as some people would imagine. I'm 29 now, and the knowledge hasn't affected my morals or life in general. I'd far rather 14 year olds were made aware of these things than lived in ignorance, frankly.
Providing the information is fair, balanced and uncritical, I think it is perfectly acceptable to tell even a 12-year-old about abortion. Just because they know about it, doesn't mean they're going to want one. We were taught about abortion at the same time as contraception. This part of sex education was only available at 16 and only for those in the "O" level biology group, not CSE students. It is, unfortunately, the uneducated or simply reckless who find themselves pregnant at 14 but then deny it to themselves until it's too late to change the situation. Recognising the situation and knowing the options available can only help a girl/ woman make the right choice.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Other Talking Points:
Links to other Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy