The Dorries abstinence bill: not dead yet

Uterine enthusiast Nadine Dorries has faced something of a setback today. With a frisson of schadenfreude, it is pleasing to report that her bill on bringing in abstinence education for girls in schools has been withdrawn.

Many are claiming this as a victory, but it isn’t quite that. In fact, Dorries withdrew the bill because there wasn’t enough time to read it that day as the Commons were busy devising other ways of fucking us over. The bill is still hanging over us, a veritable chastity belt of Damocles, waiting for a more prudent time before Dorries makes her next desperate bid for ultimate power over women’s reproductive systems. If Dorries times it well enough, it could well pass due to sheer inattention, like it did last time.

So now is not a time for celebration, it is a time to maintain the pressure and keep talking about why Dorries’s harebrained scheme would be thoroughly awful for everyone.

First of all, abstinence education does not work [sadly paywalled]. It just doesn’t. It’s like teaching people to do a rain dance in order to influence coal production. Young people might want to fuck, and it’s probably best if they learn how to do it safely. The good news is, this bill would not teach abstinence at the expense of decent sex education. The bad news is, it would still entail vast quantities of money being poured into teaching something which is of absolutely no benefit save to make a womb-obsessed God-botherer feel a bit happy.

Perhaps more crucially is the dangerous idea of teaching abstinence only to girls. There is no reason for this but simple sexism. It buys into the notion that boys want sex and girls are the “gatekeepers”, a theory promulgated repeatedly by misogynists. Sex doesn’t work that way. It never has. It is merely a societal construct, one which is crumbling and requires complete demolition.

So keep fighting. Keep the pressure up. Hold on to autonomy over women’s bodies. Dorries won’t rest in her counter crusade, and we must not either.

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