What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly?


2:25 pm - May 4th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Tory MP Nadine Dorries today tabled a motion in Parliament calling for the introduction of abstinence-based sex education for girls.

The amendment reads:

Sex Education (Required Content): That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require schools to provide certain additional sex education to girls aged between 13 and 16; to provide that such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity; and for connected purposes.

Keep in mind this is sex education for girls only. That way if young boys make mistakes, Tories can blame girls again.

There are two further problems with this approach.

First, sex-ed already features discussion of reasons not to have sex. But this is placed in the context of young people’s choices and no judgement is passed.

Second, “abstinence-only programs are not only ineffective but may cause harm by providing inadequate and inaccurate information and resulting in participants’ failure to use safer sex practices once intercourse is initiated.”

But the vote was 67 ayes and 61 noes.

So what does this mean? It doesn’t mean that this will become law, but it does mean that abortion rights activists have to become organised and mobilised to stop that from happening.

And there is more to come.

Nadine Dorries and Frank Field MP are also proposing amendments to Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill.

Here are the amendments. A key bit proposes to insert this paragraph into the bill:

independent information, advice and couselling services for women requesting termination of pregnancy to the extent that the consortium considers they will choose to use them.

What does ‘independent’ mean? In this case, Dorries says the advice should be provided by bodies who themselves do not carry out abortions, implying they have a business case for doing so.

The aim of the amendment is to exclude some of the most knowledgeable providers of information to women on abortions.

Indeed, around 20% of women seeking abortions at BPAS clinics decide not to proceed with a termination following the counselling they receive. Funny, Dorries ignores this too.

Tom Chivers at the Telegraph has also pointed out why some of the other stats used in campaigning by Dorries and Field are wrong.

Either way, pro-choice activists need to get organised and mobilised. As we have pointed out on Liberal Conspiracy already, this part of a long game by Nadine Dorries.

[hat-tip to Abortion Rights for some info]

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Does anyone else find it ironic that Ms Dorries is such a big campaigner against abortion, and for abstinence, despite being a person who has had an extramarital affair? And despite being a person who admitted that her blog was something like 70% fiction?

I wonder how many of her constituents wrote to Ms Dorries demanding this ten-minute-rule bill…must have been an awful lot. Or perhaps Ms Dorries is using her parliamentary privilege in order to push her own personal agenda. Is this what we vote our MPs in for? I say that this is an abuse of parliamentary power, and should be stopped immediately.

I can see why you went with the title you did, if the abstinence education is supplemental, as the amendment currently implies, and advice on why not having sex might be a good idea is already given then it does seem somewhat superfluous to requirements.
Although the gender imbalance does ring alarm bells, abstinence-only is shit at preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STI’s, but it is very good at sorting the “good girls” from the “bad girls”.

this bill seems to make a lot of sense to me. Children do come under a lot of pressure from all sorts of angles to have sex at a young age. Many have sex because of this pressure and don’t enjoy it either. I don’t see the harm in teachers offering a clear counter view – wait. It’s the job of teachers to challenge and guide kids, Dorries’ proposal fits very well with that ethos.

4. Mr S. Pill

Dorries is a proven liar* & adulterer**. Any words she utters or bills she tables should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

*She admitted to making up around 70% of her blog – despite passing it off as fact at the time.
**Would this matter if she wasn’t on such a moralising crusade? Probably not. But a la Andrew Marr – and more so as she is an elected politician – the stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

In other words, “Girls! It’s your responsibility to say no to sex when those pesky boys try and have it with you (we won’t ask whether you actually want to do it – that’s just dirty)!”

I wonder what the country would be like if Dorries actually ran things. Girls get taught that it’s their responsibility to ‘just say no’ to those horny lads who really can’t help it bless ‘em, but of course sex happens anyway because omg girls actually like to have it sometimes, the minxes, but oopsie no-one taught anyone how to use contraception, so rates of teenage pregnancies and STDs skyrocket, and no-one can have an abortion of course because Dorries doesn’t like those either. The whole female population barefoot and pregnant (with chlamydia). Outstanding.

First C4′s Sex Education Show misses out the clitoris, and now this.

Anne @3:

According to the OP, discussions of reasons to wait are already part of sex ed. Dorries is proposing that extra abstinence-only education is given *just to girls*. That’s not helping them to withstand pressure, that’s blatant misogyny.

Nadine Dorries scares me. Not because of who she is, but because of who she represents – she’s the British mouthpiece of the same well funded, well organised, effective, experienced organisations that have been pushing back abortion provision & healthcare access for women and girls in the US with such spectacular success recently.

They have, as Sunny points out in the OP, a long-game strategy the end result of which is to make abortion illegal or unaffordable for all but the very wealthiest. Poor and non-white women will be paying the price for this self-congratulatory moralising by bringing up unwanted children in poverty and misery, which as far as these people are concerned is no less than both they and their children deserve for the sin of someone somewhere engaging in sex – even if the sex is not consensual. They are monsters devoid of all empathy and deaf to all reason, and they’re coming to the UK.

Nice to see Frank field has found a home poor bloke thought he was a socialist, mind you so did Blair Brown and Caroline Flint Purnell Milibands, ah well the good old days.

Second, abstinence-only programs are not only ineffective but may cause harm by providing inadequate and inaccurate information and resulting in participants’ failure to use safer sex practices once intercourse is initiated.

If you’re going to quote the source in its entirety at least use speech marks! (And who said anything about abstinence early?)

Blargh – I mean abstinence only.

11. Chaise Guevara

I’m gonna take the question in the title at face value: it’s all very unclear and, as Bensix says, there doesn’t seem to be anything here about abstinence-only education. It just says that sex ed should include info on abstinence, which a) seems sensible and b) presumably happens already.

Why this refers to girls only is beyond me, though.

Bicycle Safety 101: Q) What’s the safest way to ride a bike? A) Don’t ride a bike.

Safety in the Kitchen 101: Q) What’s the safest way to boil an egg? A) Don’t boil an egg.

I cant help but feel that Dorries somewhat misses the point.

13. Watchman

I suspect there is a health case for abstinence that only applies to girls – non STI infections contracted through sex are far more common in females, at least if I remember my sex education correctly.

I am not sure whether that is behind Ms Dorries’ thinking though. Has anyone asked her?

Watchmen – but STI rates don’t go down when abstinence only education is given. If anything, it goes up, because girls aren’t educated about condoms.

The debate, such as it is, between Dorries and Chris Bryant is here:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/03.htm

I have a bit of an Iran/Iraq War feeling about those two.

16. Watchman

sianushka,

I would suggest abstinence-only sex education is a particularly stupid idea also – I was just pointing out there is an alternative logical explanation for the measure. I would not however necessarily expect logic to apply to Ms Dorries, hence my point that we do not know.

The link Tim provides suggests that Ms Dorries’ reason is to provide a counterbalance to a (generally imagined) viewpoint that sex education suggests we should be having sex as teenagers. If this was actually the reality, this bill might be useful, as it is it is just more pointless bureacracy which will be lost in the morass of PHSE lessons.

There are problems with teenage girls being pressured into sex (and especially unprotected sex) but, as Chris Bryant pointed out in the debate, this is unlikely to map well onto those who will take the abstinence lessons. My own view is that Ms Dorries would be better off trying to get the education system to develop independent thinking and (generally consequently) a feeling of self-worth, which might address the issue better – since telling someone they’re a loser and walking off takes confidence.

thanks Tim for the link to the debate. It sounded like Chris Bryant was arguing in favour of the motion when he said that some girls get pregnant because there is a lack of support and encouragement right up until they have a baby, at which point they are surrounded by care and support. Isn’t this exactly what Dorries is arguing, that girls should be empowered and receive support and have the ability to say no to all the pressure heaped on them by their mates, by magazine and by Primark (lol) to have sex. Empowerment is the answer. For all of you obsessed by this being about girls, go and have a look about the Family Planning initiatives that we fund overseas and see that they are targeted at women. If it’s good enough for export, why not good enough for us Brits?

18. Watchman

Anne,

Overseas aid is generally aimed at societies with cultures of machismo, so empowering the women to take control over their own bodies is more productive (macho men don’t do birth control – kids show virility) and also helps empower women more generally – the more equal a society, the better off it becomes.

We have a society that is pretty equal – although you may have a point in the appropriateness of such programmes in those areas with higher teen pregnancies, as there is also much more aggressively macho culture in most of these areas, but this is not a general problem – so such measures are probably less cost effective.

19. johnPReid

try to get this printed else where its inportant liberals and One Nation tories know, aboiut the nasty parties, real views.

20. Watchman

johnPried

Perhaps worth pointing out that if One Nation Tories need to know about the nasty parties real views, the nasty party is much smaller than the Conservatives as a whole and may therefore be Ms Dorries. Whose views on abortion are not a secret…

Just another tory woman who hates her own sex.

Seems to be a requirement to be a tory these days.

22. BlueRock

Typical religious right obsession with other peoples’ sex lives – especially teenagers. Anyone who pays the least attention to the religious right in the US will recognise these tactics. It’s a wedge strategy to implement the Christian dream that sex exists only in heterosexual Christian marriage.

First she wants this abstinence bullshit as a supplement, next she’ll want it as a central plank, then she’ll want the filthy sex education optional and finally to have it banned. That’ll be her goal: just say no to your evil urges (which we’re not going give you any details about).

This policy has lead to increased teenage pregnancy and STDs in the US, while Scandinavians provide their children with liberal sex education that empowers them to make their own, informed choices and which results in lower teenage pregnancy and STDs with no significant difference in average age of having sex. Obviously these facts won’t make a dent in this stupid woman’s head.

Same with abortion. Jebus wants every little zygote carried to term, so that’s what Dorries is fighting for. Don’t make no difference who suffers as a result.

Nadine Dorries is little different to that whacko religious harpy in the US, Michele Bachmann. Determined, dumb, dishonest and dangerous.

Why are people so bothered about this bill? Because it’s Dorries? (I can’t say I’m wholly unsympathetic…)

If this issue gets parliamentary time, I would hope that Sarah Wollaston or Helen Grant speaks against Nadine Dorries’ and Frank Fields’ proposal.

25. SpiderComeHome

Lardy Mc Lardy and we are actually paying politicians to debate this festering right wing nut-jobs shit?

Jeesssuss wants me for a sunbeam…a sunbeam…twitch…twitch…

Vote no2av and keep Nadine in forever…..

I think part of the problem with this can be seen if you follow the Hansard link. A lot of her justification for this approach is to do with the fact that sex education in general is terrible, and people don’t want to see their kids exposed to this kind of thing etc. etc. It makes me suspicious as to where she is likely to want to take this kind of thing. As we know from her reaction to abortion she favours an incremental approach when it comes to these issues.

And the fact that it is aimed solely at girls is truly bizarre. I genuinely have no idea ahy she would want that.

If only girls are supposed to abstain from sex, wouldn’t this lead to more homosexuality among the boys?

30. BlueRock

29. Andreas Moser

> If only girls are supposed to abstain from sex, wouldn’t this lead to more homosexuality among the boys?

lol. Someone needs to email Dorries with that suggestion – homosexual sex is even more teh evil than teenage girls having hetero sex! This’ll make her big blonde hair fall out!

31. Watchman

Vote no2av and keep Nadine in forever…..

Didn’t she get more than 50% of the vote anyway?

Ah wondered where Frank Field had gone. Anything involving him and Nads has to be terrifying.

I have started a Facebook campaign against this sexist bill at http://bit.ly/dorries with info on how to find out whether your MP voted for/against it and how to email them.

And since when do the Tories care about providing quality sex education to young people? Anyone remember this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7564034/General-Election-2010-compulsory-sex-education-scrapped.html

I work for a sexual health service for young people. Our most popular training is called ‘Delay’ and it’s about empowering *all* young people to feel that they can say no to sex until they feel ready. We also teach young people about contraception, STIs, pregnancy options and healthy relationships because we don’t judge them if they do decide to have sex.

This bill isn’t about empowering girls. If it was, it would aim to teach all genders about their equal responsibility for ensuring that they are in consenting sexual relationships. It would also challenge the ridiculous and harmful gender norms that are based on the assumption that boys think and feel one way and girls think and feel another way. This is actually about controlling young people, especially young women, and judging them when they make decisions that adults don’t agree with.

Get your facts straight yourself. This is from her blog. Important points, boys are included and abstinence is part of the menu on offer, not exclusively. It complements. Any liberal interested in choice and diversity should want a fuller menu for our youth?

This is what I actually said when delivering the bill and the link to the full debate is below. It is also 13 -16 not 14, so she obviously didn’t even read the bill.

“I believe that the answer to ending our constant struggle with the incredibly high rate of teenage sexual activity and underage pregnancies lies in teaching our girls and boys about the option of abstinence—the ability to just say no as part of their compulsory sex education at school.”

Please note the two crucial and clear points in bold above which Moore, whilst focussing on spitting her peculiar dissembling venom, chose to twist….. boys are to be included and the option of abstinence would form part of the sex education programme.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  20. Chris Hughes

    So not only is Nadine Dorries' bill very Victorian but it's MASSIVELY SEXIST! http://bit.ly/j86EPK

  21. Keith Williams

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  30. Alice Ross

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  43. Alison M Wheeler

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  81. Megan Radclyffe

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    What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/knWmjs by @sunny_hundal at LibCon

  95. Julia Hines

    RT @DickMandrake: What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/knWmjs by @sunny_hundal at LibCon

  96. Julia Hines

    RT @DickMandrake: What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/knWmjs by @sunny_hundal at LibCon

  97. John O'Shea

    RT @DickMandrake: What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/knWmjs by @sunny_hundal at LibCon

  98. Sarah Brown

    #Dorries is trying to introduce US religious right style politics of hate, fear & ignorance here. This must not happen http://bit.ly/myB3Dk

  99. Elinor Predota

    RT @libcon: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  100. Maria Longley

    RT What, again? @MissOceania What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/im9RMIc via @libcon

  101. Paul Chana

    RT @thestephmerritt: V good overview of #dorries bill: RT @libcon What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  102. Ian 'Cat' Vincent

    What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly?
    http://bit.ly/j2MYbp

  103. Marc Paterson

    RT @MissOceania: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/im9RMIc via @libcon

  104. Elinor Predota

    RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  105. Dan

    Explanation for my #Dorries tweets. RT @MissOceania: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://t.co/im9RMIc via @libcon

  106. 3PP Movies

    RT @suey2y: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/F1qOllt via @libcon

  107. Alex Hogben

    RT @Greenleftie: What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GbwVswW via @libcon

  108. sunny hundal

    @charltonbrooker #Dorries says only girls should learn about sex-abstinence (which doesn't work)… and has more plans http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  109. Sinead Smith

    GURL STOP http://t.co/nDVBMMt

  110. Robert Slater

    RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  111. Owen Blacker

    RT @dominiccampbell: RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  112. Eilidh

    What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/080FknH via @libcon

  113. Tony Whatmough

    What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/9wds3OU via @libcon

  114. Liz Ely

    this is why #nadinedorriesisadouche http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/05/04/what-is-nadine-dorries-mp-proposing-exactly/

  115. Psychodiva

    What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/2tYKMMo via @libcon #stupidcow

  116. Aaron Chandra

    RT @MissOceania: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/im9RMIc via @libcon

  117. Ruth Herbert

    Oh wow, Nadine Dorries needs to fuck off: http://t.co/im9RMIc

  118. Tweet cloud/someone shut Nadine Dorries up | Room with a view

    [...] Dorries is at it again. God help us all.  Who on earth was there to whip up some opposition to her [...]

  119. Cathy Rindhoops

    RT @herbatron: Oh wow, Nadine Dorries needs to fuck off: http://t.co/im9RMIc

  120. Yvonne Kay

    @billysubway http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/05/04/what-is-nadine-dorries-mp-proposing-exactly/. She wants to teach abstinence to girls.

  121. Nadine Dorries MP wants to stop women having sex | Women's Views on News

    [...] and comment on story from Liberal Conspiracy, via The F Word, May 4, [...]

  122. Billy Lunn

    @pete_boyle – This: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/05/04/what-is-nadine-dorries-mp-proposing-exactly/

  123. dolly daydream

    What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/CBvcT2R via @libcon

  124. dolly daydream

    RT @Greenleftie: What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GbwVswW via @libcon

  125. dolly daydream

    RT @suey2y: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/F1qOllt via @libcon

  126. bobthomson70

    RT @MissOceania: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/im9RMIc via @libcon

  127. Homer Pennington IV

    RT @MissOceania: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/aHXHojP via @libcon < @mad_pieman fyi

  128. links for 2011-05-04 « Embololalia

    [...] What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy Either way, pro-choice activists need to get organised and mobilised. As we have pointed out on Liberal Conspiracy already, this part of a long game by Nadine Dorries. (tags: sex.education education uk nadine.dorries gender) [...]

  129. Kevin Davidson

    RT @MissOceania: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/im9RMIc via @libcon

  130. Jeffrey Newman

    RT @dominiccampbell: RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  131. Natasha Finlayson

    READ THIS RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  132. Kirstin Donaldson

    RT @libcon: What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  133. sunny hundal

    RT @natfin1: READ THIS RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  134. David McMillan

    RT @natfin1: READ THIS RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  135. Graham Ward

    RT @natfin1: READ THIS RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  136. Greg Sheppard

    RT @natfin1: READ THIS RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  137. Celyn

    What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/A2k8xWQ via @libcon

  138. Elinor Predota

    RT @natfin1: READ THIS RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… and there's more to come http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  139. Lorna Leeson

    The PowerPoint in this article is very worrying… RT @sunny_hundal: What the Nadine Dorries bill today was about… http://bit.ly/kKyJzG

  140. Niklas Smith

    How is it that Nadine #Dorries thinks only girls would benefit from choosing not to have sex? http://is.gd/I3CvNh Weird…

  141. Sam Jordison

    More mad news from Nadine Dorries: http://tinyurl.com/3mkgy6m

  142. Natasha

    RT @samjordison: More mad news from Nadine Dorries: http://tinyurl.com/3mkgy6m

  143. Charolette

    RT @samjordison: More mad news from Nadine Dorries: http://tinyurl.com/3mkgy6m

  144. NHS reforms live blog | Rubytall News

    [...] at Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal has rung alarm bells over amendments to Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care [...]

  145. NHS reforms live blog | Birmingham Link

    [...] at Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal has rung alarm bells over amendments to Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care [...]

  146. Daniel Pitt

    What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://bit.ly/kKyJzG #ConDemNation

  147. Anna-Lujz Gilbert

    Fucking sexism. If a boy sleeps around its fine, but if a girl does – Terrible. http://bit.ly/knWmjs

  148. A hammering for the Liberal Democrats, victory for the SNP in Scotland, likely defeat for the Yes to AV campaign and is Lansley on the way out? – round up of political blogs for 30 April – 6 May | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    [...] Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy casts a critical eye on Nadine Dorries MP’s proposals for abstinence-based sex education, and Lara Williams at The F-Word has some further critiques, saying that not giving this advice to [...]

  149. Open meeting to oppose Nadine Dorries’ agenda | Liberal Conspiracy

    [...] has proposed girls-only abstinence classes become a mandatory part of the national [...]

  150. Why Frank Field is wrong on women and welfare | Left Foot Forward

    [...] long standing Labour MP and former Conservative Party member gave full support to Nadine Dorries’ proposals to force all women seeking abortions to receive [...]

  151. Broken OfBritain

    RT @libcon: What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://t.co/lQ87iKp

  152. milli tant

    RT @libcon: What is Nadine #Dorries MP proposing exactly? http://t.co/lQ87iKp

  153. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    What is Nadine Dorries MP proposing exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/wEvOW4R via @libcon

  154. sunny hundal

    @indiaknight no worries. I've summarised her plans here http://t.co/0miygAj if you need a bit more info

  155. Tim Ireland

    @thatsoph @puffles2010 http://t.co/PIprOYB





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