Green Party Women

Greens call for show of strength from MPs to oppose Nadine Dorries' 'Victorian' sex education bill

20 January 2012

Natalie Bennett, Chair of Green Party Women and London Assembly candidate, today described Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) Bill, being debated today, as an astonshing attempt to regress to Victorian times.It provides that schools should provide abstinence education, only girls (not boys!) aged 13 to 16.

Natalie Bennett, Chair of Green Party Women and London Assembly candidate, today described Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) Bill, being debated today, as an astonshing attempt to regress to Victorian times.

It provides that schools should provide abstinence education, only girls (not boys!) aged 13 to 16.

Natalie, attending the protest outside parliament against the proposal*, said: "Astonishingly, the Bill passed its First Reading 67 votes to 61. Although this Bill has little chance of succeeding, it is important that this attempt to impose the moral views of a tiny sliver of British society on the rest of the citizens is resoundingly defeated.

"I call on all MPs to join Green Party leader Caroline Lucas in expressing strong opposition to the bill."

Natalie noted that the mover of the bill, Nadine Dorries, and the MPs who backed her, seemed to believe that making decisions about sexual intercourse was only a matter for girls, not boys. "Will they next be calling for the covering of the legs of pianos, for fear the 'weaker sex' is disturbed by their visibility?

"Further, abstinence education has been shown in the US and elsehere to be harmful, in that it leaves pupils ignorant of the most basic facts about sex, unable to make informed decisions about their own bodies and activities, and no less likely to engage in intercourse."

Natalie added: "The Green Party believes that every child should be entitled to evidence-based, age-appropriate education in sex and relationships,beginning at a sufficiently early age and continuing throughout their education. And that  access to sexual health services should be made available in secondary schools, either on site or integrated with local young people's sexual health services.

"The education system must also acknowledge the existence of  LGBT young people and those unsure about their sexuality, and provide training and support to enable teachers to talk confidentally and sensitively about issues of sexual health and relationships for all young people."

Natalie noted that schools currently were only required to teach the absolute biological basics about sex and reproduction, and risks to sexual health, but that parents could withdraw their children from these lessons. "It is a basic right for all children to understand the workings of their bodies, and to be guided to explore their emotions and feelings, so they can make informed decisions in forming safe, fulfilling and consensual sexual relationships."


* The protest was organised by a coalition of Youth Fight For Jobs, The British Humanist Association, Queers Against The Cuts, Abortion Rights, Slut Means Speak Up, The National Secular Society, Bristol Feminist Network, Left Front Art, Education For Choice, Parents and Carers for SRE, The Socialist Party and Liberal Conspiracy.

 Update: The Bill was withdrawn without a vote being taken.







RSS Feed Green Party Women RSS Feed

Sign up here to receive our monthly updates

We'll mail you about once a month with Green Party news and updates for your area. We'll always keep your details safe, private and secure.

members' site