A lesson on the BBC’s web site selling the views of an anti-abortion group has been eliminated by the broadcaster this weekend, following a backlash from well being specialists.
The non secular research revision information, on BBC Bitesize, the broadcaster’s academic useful resource, listed “highly effective arguments” towards abortion, used the term “pro-life” relatively than “anti-abortion” and featured a web page dedicated to a vocal marketing campaign group that wishes abortion in Britain to be banned.
The Society for the Safety of Unborn Kids (SPUC) has a historical past of selling misinformation in colleges and was uncovered in 2019 for launching a Toy Story-themed marketing campaign geared toward youngsters that falsely claimed foetuses can really feel ache 10 weeks after conception.
The broadcaster stated it’s now reviewing the fabric in its non secular research information, which covers Catholics’ views on life and loss of life and is geared toward GCSE college students aged 15 and 16.
SPUC has additionally repeatedly promoted a process referred to as abortion “reversal” on its web site, which medical organisations have condemned as unproven and probably harmful. And final week it celebrated the choice within the US to overturn Roe v Wade – the supreme courtroom ruling that protected girls’s proper to abortion throughout the nation – as “a monumental day for justice [and the] unborn”.
Regardless of its monitor document, the group was described uncritically on BBC Bitesize as a “pro-life” charity that “advocates for the rights of unborn youngsters”, promotes “the sanctity of human life” and “helps people and households by way of being pregnant”. No pro-choice organisations had been talked about.
Critics stated the fabric, a part of a BBC Bitesize useful resource primarily based on the WJEC examination board syllabus, failed to obviously distinguish between truth and opinion and risked exposing youngsters to “dangerous” misinformation.
Lisa Hallgarten, head of policy at Brook, the nationwide sexual well being charity, described the training supplies as “stunning” and “problematic in some ways”. . “Pointing to an organisation that may be very unreliable in the case of factual info is problematic since you’re giving them credibility,” she stated. “This isn’t summary for younger individuals; that is actual life. We have now to essentially keep away from sending individuals to organisations which are going to be unhelpful to them.”
In addition to that includes SPUC, the BBC Bitesize useful resource listed “highly effective arguments” towards abortion, together with that it “denies option to the unborn baby” and makes human life seem “low-cost and disposable”.
In one other part, a diagram entitled Alternate options to Abortion instructed sexual abstinence and pure household planning as options for avoiding undesirable pregnancies, and “monetary assist” as options to having a termination, however didn’t point out contraception.
The British Being pregnant Advisory Service, an abortion supplier, raised issues about info offered to youngsters on options to abortion and stated it was “absurd” that the diagram instructed abstinence and pure household planning however didn’t point out contraception.
Humanists UK, a charity selling secularism, stated it was very important for non secular research instructing to spotlight totally different views and encourage structured debate. However Robert Cann, its education campaigns supervisor, stated the inclusion of SPUC was inappropriate given its “monitor document of selling excessive views on abortion to youngsters in methods which are merely factually flawed”.
“We must be very cautious when its title and sources are hosted uncritically on a youngsters’s self-guided GCSE RE revision course,” he stated.
He additionally criticised the useful resource for failing to replicate the views of most Catholics. Polls have proven most are supportive of abortion and using contraception. “This useful resource implies that Christians, and specifically Catholics, will invariably be against abortion. However that is the other of the reality – we all know that, method again in 2013, lower than 7% of the entire inhabitants stated they had been anti-abortion, together with solely 14% of Catholics – figures that can have solely diminished since,” he stated. “The entire thing wants an overhaul to be introduced in a extra essential, goal and pluralistic method.”
On Friday, the BBC stated it was reviewing the useful resource and that it had been “quickly eliminated” within the meantime. A spokeswoman added that the useful resource was primarily based on the WJEC examination board syllabus, which is why it included reference to SPUC.
However whereas it’s geared toward a particular group, the useful resource is publicly obtainable on the broadcaster’s web site, and hyperlinks to it seem excessive in Google leads to searches referring to SPUC, abortion and the BBC.
The BBC web site says Bitesize guides are “written by academics and topic specialists and are mapped to comply with the curricula of the UK”.
WJEC, the examination board whose supplies the BBC’s information is meant to accompany, distanced itself from the research supplies. “The sources developed by BBC Bitesize had been created with none involvement from our non secular research crew and are due to this fact not endorsed by WJEC,” a spokesman stated. Whereas the WJEC syllabus examined opposing views on abortion, he stated, it didn’t advocate a selected one.
The Society for the Safety of Unborn Kids stated it couldn’t touch upon the BBC useful resource however that its personal content material was primarily based on “scientific details surrounding life earlier than beginning”. A spokesperson accused pro-choice teams of “sanitising abortion”.