Not even Brexit can distract Britannia from sex education

Lady Helen Brook with Princess Anne marking the 25th anniversary of Brook Centres in 1989. Photo: Wellcome Library

A 106,000-signature petition debated in Parliament accuses the government of a “state takeover” of relationship and sex education in schools, reports The Telegraph. This marginalises parents, who from September 2020 will have no right to withdraw children from lessons teaching about same-sex relationships and “gender”, and will only have the right “to seek to withdraw” children from sex education lessons. (‘Sex education reforms “are a state takeover”’, Telegraph, February 26, 2019)

That the government can boast of graciously permitting parents to ask for their children to be excused from these lessons -- requests that will be considered, but with no guarantee that they will be granted -- simply reinforces growing concerns about the true nature of “progressive” state sex education.

It is not about teaching the biological facts of human reproduction, but about detaching children from their parents’ influence. Here’s a strange mix of left-wing “autonomy” which, it is hoped, will encourage children to rebel against their families, and a right-wing plan to get children used to the idea of contraception and abortion. Far from setting children free, as is claimed, premature sexual activity sets them on a treadmill of enslavement to sexual predators and being reproductively controlled by others.  

The link between premature sexual activity and fertility control is exemplified by the reproductive control charity Brook, which is using the issue of sexual harassment to argue for a very different kind of sex education. Their own survey found that half of female university students “have been the victim of unwanted sexual touching,” that “only a quarter of those who were raped went on to report it,” and that only 52 percent of respondents “understood it is not possible to give consent if you are drunk.”  

Brook’s chief executive Helen Marshall says the survey “highlights the importance of high-quality sex education in schools and universities.” She insists: “We are failing our young people if they don’t know that the law protects them from the unwanted behaviours they are experiencing,” and “failing to equip and empower young people to navigate their sexual lives and relationships.” (‘Female undergraduates “regularly harassed”’, Telegraph, February, 2019).  

But far from empowering young women and girls and preventing sexual harassment and rape, they are merely telling them what to do after they have been raped, including how to end a pregnancy. And it should come as no surprise that Brook, which runs contraceptive and abortion advice centres offering advice to young people, and gives talks in schools, is committed to the same value-free sex education that has led to this climate of sexual harassment.

The organisation was founded in 1964 by Lady Helen Brook, who, in the grand tradition of British eugenics, admitted being prompted by a desire to control the numbers of black babies being born as a result of Commonwealth immigration, and the numbers of children being born to poor white girls: 

“[T]here are countless men and women, parents, who are too selfish, too ignorant, too lazy to be bothered about their children’s general education. From birth till death it is now the privilege of the parental State to take major decisions – objective, unemotional, the State weighs up what is best for the child.” 

Her centres pioneered the provision of contraception to the unmarried and then to under-age girls* -- a fact not unconnected with our decades-old scandal of organised sex abuse of under-age girls. Today, the organisation says it is proud to be a partner with the Sex Education Forum which campaigns against abstinence education for children;** far from promoting choice, it effectively campaigns against the choice not to be sexually active.

It is organisations like the Brook, with their “parental State” idea of controlling all citizens’ private lives, that the government has listened to in drawing up its plans to make a power grab for the innocence of childhood, gambling that parents will be “too selfish, too ignorant, too lazy” to do anything about it.

While claiming to equip children to assert their autonomy, they are actually disempowering them by teaching them that they cannot help having sex. They teach that boys and girls are exactly the same, but that girls have the unfortunate tendency to produce babies, which must be avoided at all costs – and then they use the resultant rise in sexual harassment to argue that the same failed philosophy must be taught to even younger children. 

The Judeo-Christian concept of free will has gone out of the window as far as sex is concerned. The government insists that we should exercise free will when it comes to eating, drinking and driving, but when it comes to “sex and relationships” the only responsibility they teach impressionable children is to avoid having children themselves.

And with the imminent introduction of lessons about homosexuality and “being transgender” they have found even more inventive ways of curbing reproduction, all while appearing go-ahead.

It would come as a surprise to the Rev Thomas Malthus to learn that promoting sex is now regarded as the most effective way of controlling the population; but we all need to learn this lesson while there is still time to prevent the rise of a very modern form of totalitarianism – one supposedly based on “freedom”.

Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).


*Helen Brook, Letter, The Times, December 10, 1984, quoted in E. S. Williams, Lessons in Depravity: Sex education and the sexual revolution (London: Belmont House Publishing, 2003), pp. 177-178.

**E. S. Williams, Lessons in Depravity: Sex education and the sexual revolution (London: Belmont House Publishing, 2003), p. 224).


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