In a prime example of why parents must stay informed about their children’s school curriculum, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signed a bill in July requiring that middle school students must be taught that abortion is a preventable cause of preterm births. Incidentally, this comes after McCrory’s promise not to sign any bills regarding abortion, period. But McCrory did not act alone; 73 state senators agreed that it was okay to give students erroneous information in the classroom.
I realize that this is a hot button issue for many, but let’s focus on the real issue here: middle school teachers required by law to lie to students. Is lie too strong a word? Absolutely not, and here’s why: There is no scientific evidence that abortions cause preterm labor. Let me say that again. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that abortion causes preterm labor. This seems to be just another thinly disguised attempt to limit women’s ability to make choices for their own lives.
Proponents of the bill point to recent studies that show a limited risk of preterm births following abortions, but these studies and the recommendations made based on them are flawed. For one, they did not distinguish between successful medical abortions and those requiring surgery. In addition, they did not distinguish between induced and spontaneous abortions. Furthermore, legislators ignore the fact that the studies showed no increase at all in preterm births after abortions from 2000 onward, a fact probably contributable to modernized abortion methods.
In fact, David Grimes, a North Carolina professor of obstetrics and gynecology, called the bill “state sponsored ideology,” and pointed out that “the World Health Organization, the CDC, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics… and the American Public Health Association have all concluded that abortion does not cause prematurity.”
So why would these legislators support this bill? Do they have their own agendas, or do they just not understand the facts? Who knows – just do your part by staying informed, thinking for yourself, and getting your facts from the experts, not the politicians. Have a conversation with your middle school kids about this and other sex education topics. Don’t leave it to the schools.
To close, let me be crystal clear on this. This issue has nothing to do with how anyone may feel about abortion. It has only to do with the integrity of our schools’ curriculum being compromised by untruth. Be the voice of accuracy at home. Teach your kids how to find reliable information. You are free to teach your children about your moral beliefs. But at least tell the truth about the facts so that they are free to develop their own morals and form their own conclusions based in reality, not folklore.
– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.