The Life organisation has been invited to join a new sexual health forum set up to replace the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV.
Stuart Cowie, Life’s head of education, said: “We are delighted to be invited into the group, representing views that have not always been around on similar tables in the past.”
In contrast, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has been omitted from the forum despite its long-term position on the previous advisory group and 40-year track record in providing pregnancy counselling nationwide.
Now, take a deep breath and look at the total composition of the panel:
The forum consists of representatives of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV; the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; the Association of Directors of Public Health; the British HIV Association; the Terrence Higgins Trust; Brook; the Family Planning Association; the Sex Education Forum and National Children’s Bureau; Marie Stopes International; and Life.
Ah, see? The views of the BPAS on anything at all will be indistinguishable from those of Marie Stopes or the FPA. So what we’re actually getting is a broadening of the views being put forward without any loss of views being put forward.
And yes, this is the right thing to do in a democracy: all views should be represented, remember? Life may be a bit odd (their views on condoms seem to be less than scientific) but there are quite a number of people who don’t think that abortion is the solution to anything (other than the question “How can we kill kiddies?”) and shouldn’t their views be represented?