A CHARITY on Tyneside has been accused of “pedalling bigotry” after teaching schoolchildren that abortion causes depression, infection and holes in the womb.
Newcastle-based Christian charity Lovewise has conducted more than 50 presentations in the North East, the majority in the region’s faith schools.
The charity claims women who have abortions are twice as likely to get breast cancer and that the majority of rape victims who have abortions regret it.
Lovewise, which was founded by Dr Chris Richards, a paediatrician at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, along with retired Tyneside paediatrician Dr Liz Jones, also claimed that 93% of rape victims who abort “regretted their decision“ while 70% of those who had babies did not regret it.
Labour’s shadow public health minister Diane Abbott hit out at the charity yesterday. She said: “I think it is very wrong and the Government needs to step in because we can’t teach children at an impressionable age this sort of propaganda.
“Sexual health education is supposed to be based on facts. These people are just pedalling bigotry.”
Co-founder Dr Christopher Richards, who works at the RVI’s paediatric unit, said schools purchase their services which are pro-life.
He said: “Perforation of the womb is a recognised consequence of abortion. It is not very common, but it is true and it is much less common now many abortions are done medically.
“Depression is a well-documented and well-studied complication of abortion.”
He added that the claims that abortion could cause breast cancer had been removed from Lovewise’s literature as they had “become more controversial” since the charity, based in Newcastle’s Jesmond, was founded in 2002.
Dr Richards claimed the figures about rape victims were taken from a book entitled Victims are Victors and could be “found on Amazon”.
He said small parts of the charity’s presentations, written by the two doctors, had been taken out of context.
He said: “I think it is important for children to know these kinds of truths. There is a big school of thought which says you can have an abortion and there are no consequences.
“These are children who are not many years away from having an abortion themselves.
“We live in a pluralistic society which encourages the exchange of views on all matters. We believe that young people, therefore, have a right to hear and discuss what might be positive about keeping sex for marriage and keeping their unborn child.”
Ms Abbott called the presentations “a mismatch of bigotry and urban myth. They certainly haven’t got the data from here in the UK”.
Dr Richards said schools pay for their services and are aware of the content of the presentations.
He said: “There is no suggestion it is underhand. It is all at the request of the headteacher of the schools.”
A spokeswoman for the sexual education charity Education for Choice said the charity was attempting to frighten children and that young people should have access to “evidence-based, impartial” information.
She said: “We have been working in schools for 20 years and have come across a number of groups which present misinformation about contraception and abortion to satisfy their ideological aims.
“The claim that Lovewise, and other organisations, make that women who have had abortions are twice as likely to get breast cancer, or seven times more likely to commit suicide is not supported by reputable scientific research.
“Attempting to frighten young people in this way and cloud their understanding of contraception, sexual health and their bodies is wrong.”
Sexual health education is supposed to be based on facts. These people are just pedalling bigotry