BELFAST, Northern Ireland (LifeSiteNews) — Radical changes to the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum in Northern Irish schools will now include teaching children about abortion and how to access abortion services.
On November 7, the Catholic Schools Trustee Service (CSTS), a sectoral body that represents the Catholic family of schools in Northern Ireland, issued a statement in response to “abortion ideology” being taught to post-primary schoolchildren.
The CSTS believe the new changes “directly undermines the rights of parents” who wish to educate their children in accordance with their moral, ethical, and religious belief systems, “as is recognized through international human rights legislation.”
The Catholic Trustees are worried that the pro-abortion ‘educational’ legislation “potentially imposes a specific ideological view of abortion and the prevention of early pregnancy which directly challenges the rights of Catholic schools to offer a faith-based worldview on such matters.”
Bishop Donal McKeown, the Chairman of the CSTS, said, “There is no ethically neutral or value free approach to the question of when human life begins. The expectation that schools should become engaged in the delivery of an allegedly neutral curriculum which highlights access to abortion shows no understanding of the foundational principles of Catholic education.”
The Relationships and Sexuality Education (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 states that it aims to achieve “age-appropriate, comprehensive and scientifically accurate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, covering prevention of early pregnancy and access to abortion.”
On June 6, Secretary of State to Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris approved the mandatory regulations at Westminster that will force schools in Northern Ireland to teach 11–16-year-olds about killing unborn babies and information about how to access contraception.
Heaton-Harris said providing accurate information about contraception and abortion in schools was “fundamental” to the wellbeing of young people in Northern Ireland.
Precious Life, a large pro-life group in Northern Ireland, responded to the new RSE requirements by saying, “Not content with 4316 babies already killed in Northern Ireland, the Westminster Government want even more babies killed by promoting abortion to school children.”
Before the legislation was imposed in June, schools across Northern Ireland had individual autonomy to decide what to teach pupils regarding sex education based on school ethos and faith.
Pro-life groups and activists across Northern are disgusted at the new regulations mandating teaching children how to obtain an abortion.
During a debate about the upcoming revised sex-ed changes, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP for Upper Bann and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group Carla Lockhart, said abortion cannot be taught in a “morally neutral” way and shouldn’t be “normalized.”
The MP believes that teaching children about abortion only “diminishes the value of life because if young people are taught about the legal availability of abortion and how to access it, they are more likely to do so in greater numbers”.
Northern Ireland once had some of the strictest abortion laws in the world, thus saving many lives in the process. Following 1967, Northern Ireland was the only part of the United Kingdom where abortion remained unlawful. Northern Ireland now has one of the most extreme abortion laws, anddisabled children can be aborted right up to birth.
The Northern Ireland abortion law was passed in the Westminster House of Commons by British MPs in 2019. Due to a collapse in a power-sharing government between the DUP and Sinn Fein in January 2017, Northern Ireland had a nonfunctioning assembly and therefore was governed by direct rule from Westminster.
The entire island of Ireland has seen radical and unprecedented change in recent years regarding abortion. In May 2018, the Irish Republic voted to legalize abortion, ending Ireland’s legacy as one of the world’s most pro-life nations. Since legalizing abortion, Northern Ireland has even introduced anti-prayer exclusion zones near abortion facilities.
A public consultation by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland about the RSE programme is due to close on November 24. The CSTS are urging concerned parents to take part in the consultation to express concerns about teaching abortion to their children and the process of opting out. They can do so here.