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FPA - 75 Years

When you attend the Family Planning Clinic or your GP to acquire further supplies of the contraceptive pill, do you ever question the history of contraception?  Does it ever cross your mind why, when the NHS is always crying out for more money and that the public are forever fundraising to help pay for cancer research or heart machines or special care baby cots etc, that contraception is still freely given to anyone of any age whatever their financial status?  Doesn't this strike you as odd? What else do you get 'free' in life?  Some people may get free medicines if their condition is life-threatening or they are unemployed or on disability allowance, but generally 'freebies' have a catch to them - a reason behind why the 'goods' are being given away.

Did you know that the Family Planning Clinic, now known as fpa, is 75 years old this year - 2005, and that it is the UK's leading sexual health charity?  Anne Weyman OBE fpa Chief Executive on their website, which has a dedicated section to 'celebrate' its 75 years says "Over time, fpa has tackled emotive and controversial issues, contributing to a social and sexual revolution that changed the lives of millions for the better.  As we move forward into the 21st century, the need for fpa's work - campaigning, lobbying, informing, educating and training - remains as strong as ever.  We will continue to focus our efforts on the challenges ahead and fight on until our ultimate aim is achieved - sexual health for everyone, for life". (emphasis United for Life).

That is their aim - is it your's?  Are you as obssessed with sexual health for everyone, including your young children without you knowing what they are being taught, or whether it is 'information', condoms or the morning after pill given in the classroom, or an abortion booked and supplied outside the classroom?  Does the 'sexual health' also include all the sexually transmitted diseases that are on the rise to ever younger 'recipients' due to the 'aims' of the fpa?

Many people would not like to have anything to do with sleazy brothels and bars, prostitution and lap dancing, strip clubs and pornography yet they are quite happy to associate with the fpa whose ultimate aim is 'sexual health for everyone - for life'.  How did this nation get into this 'den of vice' called the fpa?  Let us look at their own record of 'achievements'.

In Their Own Words - 75 Years of 'Achievements'

Established in 1930, fpa (Family Planning Association) celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2005.  As the UK's leading sexual health charity, fpa has a unique history, having pioneered the introduction of contraceptive services and contributed to a social and sexual revolution that has changed and improved the lives of millions forever.

Today, the right to control our own fertility and enjoy sexual relationships free from the fear of pregnancy is taken for granted, but within living memory the situation was very different:

"I am the mother of 12 children, nine of whom are living.  I am only 40 and live in dread of having any more, which for the sake of the others I can't afford to keep.  My health has been taxed to the utmost and my baby is just two ... I dread my husband touching me ... a little advice would do a lot of good, my life up to now has been one big nightmare."

This was the reality of sexual health in 1930 when many lives were ruined by constant childbearing and relationships blighted by fear and ignorance about sex.

The National Birth Control Council was formed that year 'so that married people may space or limit their families and thus mitigate the evils of ill-health and poverty' and changed its name to The Family Planning Association in 1939.  Early supporters included birth control campaigner Marie Stopes, the economist JM Keynes, novelist HG Wells, the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the niece of Oscar Wilde.

The provision of contraception was seen as scandalous by some in the Church and medical profession, who believed the separation of sex from reproduction threatened the security of marriage.  The early volunteers were abused both in public and in print, described in one instance as: 'Impertinent middle-class busybodies, ... shameless ... unblushing ... insolent' and 'the kind of idle women who visit matinees and sit with cigarettes between their painted lips'.  Eggs, apples and bricks were thrown at clinic premises by protesters.

By the 1930s many families had long practised some kind of birth control, but reliable methods were not accessible to many.  Decades later, one fpa worker recalled:

"We felt it was dreadful that middle- and upper-class women could get advice and contraception by paying a consultant and poor women couldn't.  They were forced to have babies they didn't want and couldn't afford, or they were forced to have backstreet abortions which literally risked their lives."

The poor state of health of some of the women attending the clinics was all too apparent.  One case note from 1935 records:

'Mother, aged 22, is asthmatic.  Has had five pregnancies in four years, with three babies born alive, one died at six weeks.  Has had two self-induced abortions, one with drugs and the other using scissors.'

Many women resorted to desperate measures to avoid having another child and in 1939 a Government committee reported that one in six maternal deaths were a direct result of abortion, the vast majority of which were criminally induced.

The upheaval of the war years led to a change in sexual attitudes, with many living for the moment.  Condoms became more widely available to protect against sexually transmitted infections as well as pregnancy, but in general access to contraception remained hit and miss and fraught with embarrassment.

The issue of sex before marriage exercised fpa a great deal for two decades.  In the fifties, the organisation began to give 'pre-marital advice' to women up to eight weeks before their wedding.  Many clinics accepted 'convincing verbal reassurances', but some requested proof, such as a receipt for a wedding dress or letter from a vicar or family doctor before providing advice and supplies.

Eventually, after heated discussion throughout the sixties, in 1970 fpa finally compelled all clinics to supply advice and treatment irrespective of marital status, but some clinic workers had already found ways round this:

"We used to keep wedding rings in the drawer of the desk and hand them to the unmarried girls when they came in.  We'd say, 'Now you're Mrs Smith', but often they'd forget and sit in the waiting room blankly while the nurse called 'Mrs Smith, Mrs Smith ...'."

This change of attitude can be attributed to the liberalisation of attitudes towards sex and relationships that occurred in the sixties.  When fpa approved the use of the Pill in its clinics in 1961, the face of family planning changed forever.  Within ten years it had become the method of choice for over a million women and a new sense of freedom about sex prevailed.

In 1974, fpa's aim of free contraception for all was achieved when its network of over 1,000 clinics was handed over to the NHS and family planning was finally incorporated into the health service.  Successive governments have maintained their commitment to free family planning, which today is estimated to save the NHS 2.5 billion a year in the prevention of unplanned pregnancy.

However, inequalities in health remained, and in the 1980s fpa re-focused its energies to campaign against proposals to abolish access to confidential advice and contraceptive treatment for under-16s and restrict abortion services, topics which are still hotly debated today.  Rising rates of sexually transmitted infections and the emergence of HIV/AIDS dominated the end of the decade, and resurfaced along with teenage pregnancy as key issues of the late 1990s, resulting in the establishment of current national strategies aiming to improve sexual health.

Today, the need for fpa's services remains as strong as ever. sexual health direct, fpa's national helpline and information service, receives over 100,000 enquiries a year on sexual health and distributes five million leaflets a year across the UK.  Innovative resources on sex and relationships education are produced for professionals and young people, and pioneering training courses and community projects make a real impact with participants.  fpa also vigorously campaigns and lobbies decision makers at the highest level on sexual health policy.

Sexual health has changed beyond all recognition since 1930.  At that time there were only 20 family planning clinics, access to contraception was very limited, information and discussion about sexual health was non-existent, and abortion accounted for 450 registered deaths a year in England and Wales alone.  Today there are over 1,700 clinics offering 14 different contraceptive choices, legal and safe abortion has been available in Britain for nearly four decades, and many taboos and fears about sex have been banished by a liberalisation of attitudes towards sexual behaviour.

Yet there are still plenty of challenges ahead.  Good sex and relationships education remains patchy in schools, the UK's rates of teenage pregnancy are the highest in Western Europe, and diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections continue to increase.  All sexual health services require sustained investment to improve access, lower waiting times and provide consistent standards of care.  Speedy access to NHS abortion remains a postcode lottery and mostly unavailable for women in Northern Ireland, who still have to travel to private clinics in England instead.

Anne Weyman, fpa Chief Executive, says:

"Contraception made one of the most important contributions to public health in the 20th century, but the need for fpa to champion sexual health today is as great as it's ever been.  Our work is inherently controversial as it involves confronting the different views society has about sex, but we will continue to campaign to achieve our vision of a society where good sexual health is enjoyed by all."

In Their Own Words - 75 Years Timeline
1930fpa's parent organisation, the National Birth Control Council, is formed with 20 clinics 'so that married people may space or limit their families and thus mitigate the evils of ill-health and poverty'
1933First clinics open in Wales in Caerphilly, Barry and Merthyr Tydfil
1937Clinics in Scotland start up
1939The Council changes its name to The Family Planning Association
1948The NHS is formed, but family planning services are not included
1951The average age of first sex is 21
1952fpa is a founder member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, to which all fpa's around the world are now affiliated
1955fpa receives public recognition on its 25th birthday with the first ever official visit by the Minister for Health, Iain McLeod
1957The Wolfenden Report recommends the legalisation of male homosexuality at age 21 and over
1958The Church of England's Lambeth Conference accepts that contraception is a 'right and important factor in Christian family life'
1959fpa film 'Birthright' is launched
1960fpa advertises for the first time on London Underground trains, but the British Transport Commission withdraws them following complaints
1961The average age of first sex is 19
1961fpa's Medical Advisory Committee approves the use of the Pill in its clinics
1962fpa becomes a registered charity
1964fpa refuses to extend contraceptive advice to unmarried women
1965fpa approves the use of IUDs in its clinics
1967The NHS (Family Planning) Act permits health authorities to give contraceptive advice regardless of marital status and fpa gives clinics the discretion to do the same
1967The Abortion Act legalises abortion in England, Wales and Scotland and the Sexual Offences Act legalises homosexuality for men aged 21+
1968fpa opens its first vasectomy clinic in Cardiff
1970All fpa clinics now give contraceptive advice to single people and the famous 'pregnant man' poster campaign advertising fpa's services begins
1972The Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order starts the official provision of family planning services in Northern Ireland
1973fpa establishes its education and training department to pioneer sexuality training for health, education and social services staff
1974On 1 April, Barbara Castle, Minister for Health, announces that free family planning for all will be included in the NHS Reorganisation Bill and over 1,000 fpa clinics are handed over to the NHS
1974fpa established in Belfast
1974Department of Health issues guidance for doctors clarifying the legality of giving contraception to under-16s without parental consent
1975GPs join the NHS family planning service
1977fpa establishes The Family Planning Information Service (national helpline, library and leaflet supply)
1978The first ever 'test tube' baby, Louise Brown, is born
1981Beginning of awareness of AIDS cases in the USA
1984Launch of fpa's 'Men Too' campaign to target men with information about contraception and sexual health
1985Law Lords confirm legality of contraceptive treatment to under-16s
1987fpa is a founder member of the Sex Education Forum, an umbrella organisation that promotes good quality sex and relationships education
1987Family Law Reform Act abolishes the status of illegitimacy and removes legal discrimination against children born outside marriage
1990fpa celebrates its 60th anniversary
1990Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act amends the Abortion Act of 1967 reducing the time limit from 28 - 24 weeks, but removing it in cases where the mother's life is at severe risk or for serious fetal abnormality
1991The medical abortion pill is licensed for use in the UK
1992Pop band 'Take That' launch fpa's 'Sexuality' booklet and tour venues promoting the safer sex message
1992House of Lords rules that rape within marriage is a crime
1997fpa launches two new annual campaigns: Contraceptive Awareness Week and Sexual Health Week
1998Family Planning Association becomes fpa and launches a new logo and strapline to emphasise its broader sexual health remit
1999Teenage Pregnancy Unit set up by the Government with target to halve under-18s conception rate by 2010
2000The average age at first sex is 16.  The age of consent for gay sex is reduced to 16
2001Emergency contraception pills become available in pharmacies
2001fpa achieves a Judicial Review into the medical practices relating to abortion and the provision of abortion services in Northern Ireland
2001The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV is launched
2002fpa intervenes in a Judicial Review into the provision of emergency contraception in pharmacies, which rules in favour of continued supply
2004Judges rule the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety must issue guidance on abortion for women and practitioners in Northern Ireland
2005fpa celebrates 75 years of achievement in sexual health

(Taken from the fpa website March 2005 - figures in red United for Life emphasis)

So they openly admit to breaking the law in their promotion of contraceptives to unmarrieds and they forget to mention that since the 1930's antibiotics have been developed as well as the NHS being introduced that has meant healthcare has changed for the better and the welfare state now means that financial help is available for all who need it.

Not content with giving out contraceptives to married women who visited their clinics, then unmarried girls who visited the clinics, they now have a nurse in almost every secondary school to ensure that all girls, no matter how young, have confidential access to contraception without either the parents or the GP knowing.  They also fail to mention love, marriage, chastity, abstinence, responsibilty, family, husband or wife in their record of 'achievement' over the past 75 years.

They do mention that sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy have risen and are still rising.  They also mention the need for abortion facilities across the country and into other countries (Ireland being mentioned).  Yet if contraception is the answer for 'sexual health' why is the nation, especially the younger people, so unhealthy?  Why can the fpa and the funding bodies, especially the Government, not admit that their policies have failed and they are the cause of the 'sexual ill-health' and that more contraception to ever younger children only produces more damage and disease?

Why can they not see that the age of first sex has reduced from 21 in 1951, down to age 19 in 1961 and age 16 in 2000?  Now they are openly admitting to being funded since 1999 to halve the under-18 conception rate by 2010 - the rate that is of their own making by their constant promotion of contraceptives to school children.  The health of the nation has been and is still being destroyed by policies that began more than 75 years ago with Marie Stopes in this country in 1921 but was swiftly encompassed by The National Birth Control Council in 1930 .

The fpa are proud of being part of International Planned Parenthood Federation and linked with Marie Stopes International.  By supporting fpa by accepting free contraceptives you are also supporting IPPF and MSI, two major organisations that actively promote abortion, and sterilisation as well as contraception worldwide.

Free contraception is supposed to save the Government 2.5billion a year.  How much does it cost the NHS in abortions and treating sexually transmitted diseases each year?  How much does it cost to pay for special schools or tutors for schoolgirl mums?  How much does it cost to look after single parents, especially where the father is either not known or is too young (posssibly still in school himself) to care for his child?  How much does it cost in family breakups?  How much does it cost when a girl finds out that due to early sexual activity she is infertile later in life and cannot conceive and wants free IVF treatment?  How much does it cost to fund fpa clinics and teenage pregnancy units that encourage promiscuity?  How much does it cost to treat women with breast cancer who had an early pregnancy terminated by abortion because they were at school or not married years before and nobody told them the risk of breast cancer was higher than if their first pregnancy went to term?  Is it really more cost effective to pump money into 'free contraception for all' when the NHS is desperate for as much funding as possible to carry out routine operations?

Or is there a different agenda that nobody wants to mention?

The price that is paid for free contraceptives is the complicity and silence of the nation in speaking out against the sexulisation of the youth and seculisation of the adults.  God has been pushed out of any decison making.  Where once children were a blessing, now sterility (after one or two children with the parents choosing the timing) is seen as the blessing.  Disease (sexually transmitted), death (by abortion) and destruction (of marriages and family life) are the consequencies of accepting policies without question - receiving 'something for nothing' and thinking a bargain has been obtained.

The fpa have tried to put themselves in a good light - as saviour of the nation (or nations as they are worldwide) but there is only one Saviour - Jesus Christ.  Sex should not be worshipped as the ultimate goal as Anne Weyman would advocate.  Rather sexual intimacy should be saved for marriage between one man and one woman as God decreed in the Bible when He created Adam and Eve.  It should not be promoted or encouraged for everyone, especially school children.  When God instituted marriage He also blessed 'man and woman' to be fruitful and multiply.  The fpa and its promotion of any form of contraception whether for marrieds, courting couples or children is totally against marriage, family life, morality and God.

Are you still comfortable with using contraceptives?  Maybe now is the time to really consider all the linked issues; Eugenics, Forced One-Child-Policy, Breast Cancer, Population etc.  Then maybe you will be in a position to more fully support organisiations that speak out for life, family, marriage, chastity and Christian moral issues.

Using fpa's figures of 75 years, the majority of people today have been born into a generation that has had access to contraception.  As time has passed that access has become ever easier and 'matter of fact'.  Contraception is used 'without question'.  Maybe now is the time to start questioning whether or not it really is as 'safe' and 'healthy' to use.  Over the coming year fpa will be having various 'celebration' events.  Will you be celebrating the sexual state of the nation with them?

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