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When I was in Sydney last May, a headline in the free MX newspaper handed out in the underground caught my eye. “Contraception education failing the young”, it announced and went on to say that half of all pregnancies in Australia aren’t planned. Young women were sticking with “the most unreliable forms of contraception”.

What were these forms? “A national study by Queensland University and Newcastle University has found the contraceptive pill and condoms were the most common methods of contraceptive among women aged 18 to 23.”

“Oh,” I thought to myself. They aren’t telling us that in England.

But now they are. Or rather, the pro-life press in the UK has picked up a report from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service which tells the same story. What is interesting is its authorship, since BPAS is one of our main abortion providers. The release says that 66 percent of the 157,000 women who sought abortions at their clinics in the last three years came because their contraception either failed or was used incorrectly. Of these, 40 percent were on the contraceptive pill and 35 percent were using condoms.

BPAS tells us that contraceptive pills have a “perfect use” failure rate of one per cent when used exactly as instructed, “but with ‘typical use’ around nine in 100 women will become pregnant a year”. Likewise perfect condom use results in two pregnancies per 100 users while “with typical use – in which the condom is sometimes not put on or taken off properly – that increases to 12 in every 100”.

“Contraception fails and sometimes we fail to use it properly,” says Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS. “Ultimately women cannot control their fertility through contraception alone, and need accessible abortion services as a back-up for when their contraception lets them down.”

Congratulations to Ann Furedi for her frankness. However, I wonder if she will take the next obvious step and use her study to change the advice given out to school children in their ubiquitous sex lessons. After all, BPAS is a key player on our Sex Education Forum, which largely dictates what our children receive.

I don’t hold my breath. The truth is that for contraceptive-backed sex educationalists the cupboard is bare. The Australian study suggested promoting long-acting contraceptives such as the implant and the injection. Ann Furedi is, again, honest enough to admit that its mass use is unlikely to be acceptable for children. She instead expresses her excitement about research into a new “pericoital” pill. However, the study she references admits that results so far are sub-optimal and a lot more work needs to be done. In the meantime, Ms Furedi repeats what she has said clearly before — that abortion is a necessary part of fertility control.

No wonder our mainstream press has kept its silence about the BPAS report. It is up to pro-lifers to force all these arguments into the public arena and demand that our education departments acknowledge them.

We know more about fertility than ever before, its delicate balance which is easily damaged but which can be fruitfully managed both to avoid and to have children without using contraception.

We know that sex really does bind man and woman together, not only for moments but by permanently changing pathways in the brain.

We know that the best teachers of sexuality are the children’s own parents, who will never willingly tell them lies.

But we can only guess at how much money would be saved if BPAS and similar outfits were no longer calling the tune.

Louise Kirk is UK Co-ordinator of the character education programme Alive to the World. Last year she produced her own book Sexuality Explained: a Guide for Parents and Children which has already sold 1200 copies. Together the resources are intended to provide an alternative to contraceptive-backed sex education.

Louise Kirk is UK Co-ordinator for Alive to the World.