DVD challenges myths of pregnancy and abortion
Such cliches, assumptions and emotive attitudes surrounding abortion are to be discussed in the classroom, following the launch of a new DVD aimed at school-age children.
Why Abortion?, produced by the Family Planning Association (FPA), uses a series of short films to tackle some of the myths about abortion. The films, which are intended for use with pupils aged 14 and above, examine the circumstances under which women might choose to terminate a pregnancy.
For example, "Mary's Story" portrays the experience of a teenager who accidentally became pregnant. But she had her baby: it was her 40-year-old mother who chose an abortion as she felt unable to take care of her grandchild, support her daughter through college and look after a baby of her own.
The DVD also examines the feelings of a man whose partner becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Each of the nine short films is followed by a videoed discussion session in which teenagers debate the issues raised for themselves.
Rebecca Findlay, of the FPA, hopes the DVD will enable teenagers to see that abortion is not merely an issue that affects sexually irresponsible teenagers: abortions are more common among women aged over 30 than they are among those below the age of 20. One in five pregnancies ends in abortion.
"This is an issue that can touch you throughout your life," she said. "We wanted to bring it beyond their immediate friends and family, towards the broader world.
"There are always people who don't want anybody to have an abortion and will fight and lobby to take away that right. They're a small minority, but they're very vocal. We cannot be complacent, and we cannot take abortion for granted."
The DVD is intended to be used in personal, social and health education or RE lessons, and is accompanied by a teachers' manual.