Opinion Poll backs Cardinal's concerns.
An opinion poll commissioned by the Catholic Church in Scotland has shown that most Scots agree with the concerns raised by Cardinal Keith O'Brien recently, that;
graphic sex education should not be given to pre-school or primary school children,
the morning after pill shouldn't be given in confidence to girls under 16 without parental consent, and
abstinence-based approaches to sex education should be piloted in Scottish schools.
Cardinal O'Brien recently called for all approaches to sex education to include guidance on basic moral values.
The poll was designed by the Opinion Research Business (ORB) and the questioning carried out by System 3 of a representative sample of close to 997 adults from 30th September to 7th October.
When asked, whether sex and relationship education, resources and approaches which use graphic imagery or intimate questions be used;
in preschools, 90% said no,
in primary schools, 55% said no.
On the question of the morning after pill, 55% of the population do not think it should be made available in confidence to school girls (under 16) without parental consent. Among parents of schoolgirls, opposition is even greater.
Lastly, two thirds of Scots favour the introduction of abstinence-based approaches to sexual health in Scottish schools.
(The full results are shown below. )
Reacting to the poll findings, Cardinal Keith O'Brien said;
"These findings are extremely encouraging and leave me greatly reassured, that my concerns are widely held. On Sunday 29 August 2004, I addressed the issue of Scotland s sexual health strategy, I suggested, that sexual health policy in Scotland was in crisis. The debate that followed, created more heat than light and although some sought to play down my concerns, many more, from all walks of life endorsed them."
"Although the First Minister and Health Minister issued reassuring statements, I felt compelled to seek detailed clarification on a number of key issues. On Wednesday 8 September, I asked for urgent clarification, on a number of issues which remain of intense interest to me and to those who have written to me. I asked for confirmation that sex and relationships education resources and approaches which use suggestive role-playing, graphic imagery or intimate questioning will not be used in pre-school or primary schools and that no approach will be used in isolation from any guidance on basic moral values.
I also asked for confirmation that The Morning After Pill will not be made available in confidence to schoolchildren without parental consent, either within schools or facilitated by health workers in and around schools
At the same time, I asked if abstinence-based approaches, would as a matter of urgency now be piloted in Scotland."
Cardinal O'Brien added;
"To date I have received no response to my request for these clarifications.
I wrote to the then Minister for Health, Malcolm Chisholm on 22 September with my request and would be grateful for a reply from his successor or the First Minister.
Cardinal O'Brien concluded;
"Clearly, I am far from alone in expressing serious doubts about the direction of sexual health policy in this country. When a majority of Scots disapprove of or disagree with current approaches in this field and two thirds of the population suggest it is time to change direction on sexual health, I think it is incumbent on our politicians, to listen and to respond."
Further comment on the results came from Dr Salah Beltagui, Scottish Chair of the Muslim
Association of Britain:
"We're not at all surprised at the results as it is clear that the
policies pursued over the last few years have made matters worse rather
than better. Before things slide any further, it is time for those
advocating the current policies to admit defeat and pursue sex education
within a more moral framework."
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168
1. Should sex and relationship education, resources and approaches which use graphic imagery or intimate questions be used in:
Yes No Don t Know
% % %
Preschools 7 90 4
Primary schools 39 55 6
2. Do you agree that the morning after pill should be made available in confidence to school girls (under 16) without parental consent?
9 Don't Know
3. How much would you favour an abstinence-based approach to sexual health being piloted in Scottish schools?
39 Strongly support
26 Support a little
12 Oppose a little
11 Strongly oppose
12 Don t know