Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/702/13587
Victory against Dorries' abstinence education bill
Campaigners move onto the next fight
On Friday 20 January a demonstration against Tory MP Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (required content) Bill 185 was interrupted mid way through when a victory was announced.
To cheers from the crowd I reported that the Bill had suddenly been withdrawn, effectively killing it dead.
Around 250 people turned up to protest against the Bill, which would have required girls aged 13-16 to be given compulsory abstinence lessons as part of their sex education. Over 2,000 people joined a campaign against the Bill on Facebook at facebook.com/stopdorries.
As well as the Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs and Education, the opposition was supported by the British Humanist Association, Abortion Rights UK, Education for Choice, the National Secular Society, Feminist Fightback, Queers Against the Cuts, Slut Means Speak Up, and others.
The Bill had many problems - it was sexist by being just for girls, and abstinence-only education has been proven not to work in reducing unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.
As the majority of sex and relationships education (SRE) is not currently compulsory, many schools, particularly academies and religious schools, don't teach comprehensive SRE, meaning that the Bill effectively could have meant abstinence-only education for many.
Although the Bill had little chance of passing its second reading due to scheduling, opposition was rallied in order to raise awareness of the need for statutory, evidence based, comprehensive SRE.
However, Dorries is threatening her intentions might become part of another bill she puts through, so while celebrating the success in defeating this Bill, campaigners are keeping an eye on Dorries and her government, as we know we haven't heard the last of their attacks on women's' rights, education and sexual liberation.
In The Socialist 25 January 2012:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news