Protecting Girls and Boys from Anal Intercourse

© The Christian Institute, November 2000


The Government’s Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill:

(a) lowers from 18 to 16 the age at which a man can commit buggery (anal intercourse) on a girl or boy;

(b) lowers from 18 to 16 the age at which homosexual acts (excluding buggery) can be committed on boys.

On 13 November the House of Lords voted to amend the Bill to:

  • stop the age at which buggery can be committed on a girl or boy from falling from 18 to 16. This stops (a) above but not (b);
  • strengthen the new offence of ‘abuse of trust’ contained in the Bill.

Now the Government is poised to use the Parliament Acts to override the Lords and force the Bill through without the Lords’ amendments. This must not be allowed to happen.

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Tell the Government: “Don’t use the Parliament Acts”

Sexual Exploitation of Girls
Girls can be very vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Yet, for the sake of the less than 1% of men who are homosexual, all girls between 16 and 18 are to be exposed to even greater risk.

Every time the House of Commons has debated the ‘homosexual age of consent’, the real effect on girls has been ignored.

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A Call to Action

This leaflet explains:

Anal intercourse is extremely dangerous

Christians know that all sex outside of marriage is wrong. The law does not reflect this. But the law does seek to protect people from harm - especially children. Buggery (which can be committed by homosexuals and heterosexual alike) is not the same as other forms of sexual activity because it is so much more damaging. The law should protect children (those under 18) from the harm caused by buggery.

Physical damage (“trauma”) and infection

“The shape of the bowel is not intended for the purpose of sexual intercourse. The muscle of the anal sphincter has to be forced open. The lining of the bowel is a single cell layer. As a result there is trauma and tearing. The semen action damages the bowel lining and the consequence is easy entrance of bacteria and viruses.”(1)
Dr M E Duncan, MD(Hons), FRCSE, FRCOG

Dr Jeffrey Satinover says: “anal intercourse, penile or otherwise, traumatizes the soft tissues of the rectal lining. These tissues... are nowhere near as sturdy as vaginal tissue. As a consequence, the lining of the rectum is almost always traumatized to some degree by any act of anal intercourse. Even in the absence of major trauma, minor or microscopic tears in the rectal lining allow for immediate contamination and the entry of germs into the bloodstream.” (2)

HIV

The risk of HIV infection from anal intercourse is extremely high: for men it is at least 2,700 times the risk from vaginal intercourse.(3) Anal sex is so dangerous for homosexual men that the UK Blood Transfusion Service will not accept blood from any man who has ever had sex with another man, even if it was ‘safe sex’ with a condom.(4)

Condoms

Even condom manufacturers advise against anal sex. The condom company, Durex, said in October 2000: “Anal intercourse is a high-risk activity because of the potential for infection from STDs including HIV transmission. Currently, there are no specific standards for the manufacture of condoms for anal sex. Current medical advice is therefore to avoid anal sex. However, whenever this advice is not followed, the medical profession recommends that stronger condoms should be used although studies have shown that there is still a risk of breakage and slippage”.(5)

A condom only has to slip or break once for HIV to be transmitted.

UK Laws on Buggery

The table below shows the current law concerning buggery for boys and for girls in N Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales. It also looks at the situation as it would be under the Bill and as it would be following the Lords’ amendments.

  Girls Boys  
Now
N Ireland
illegal
18
 
 
Scotland
effectively 16
18
 
 
England & Wales
18
18
 
       
 
 
Girls
Boys
 
The Bill
N Ireland
illegal
17
 
 
Scotland
effectively 16
16
 
 
England & Wales
16
16
 
       
 
 
 
House of Lords Amendments
N Ireland
illegal
18
 
 
Scotland
18
18
 
 
England & Wales
18
18
 
       

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Using the Parliament Acts to force down the age of consent


It is outrageous to use the Parliament Acts because:

  • The Acts are a draconian device intended to be used on matters of major national and constitutional significance;
  • Lowering the age of consent for buggery for girls from 18 to 16 was not in the Government’s manifesto. Neither was lowering the age for boys. Opinion polls repeatedly find around 70% of the public oppose the Government’s plans;
  • This is a conscience issue, not a party political matter. Both Houses of Parliament have been allowed a free vote and have disagreed. The Government should not force its view about an issue of conscience;
  • It would set an extremely dangerous precedent. If the Government can use the Parliament Acts on something as sensitive and contentious as this (where the effects on girls have not even been debated by MPs) what is to stop it using them on something like gay ‘marriage’ and adoption, or human cloning?

Never before have the Parliament Acts been used on an issue like this. Some MPs compare it to the last Government using them on the War Crimes Bill. But the morality of War Crimes was not in dispute. The issue was a procedural one to do with the length of time which could pass before a trial took place. On the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill there is no such agreement on the central moral issue.

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References

 1 Duncan, M E Anal Intercourse – The Medical Risks (unpublished paper, 2000)
 2 Satinover J, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Baker, 1997, page 67
 3 Stewart G, Health Care Analysis, 1994, 2; 279-286. Professor Duncan has pointed out the clear implications of this study. Anal intercourse is uncommon amongst the heterosexual population, but usual amongst the homosexual population.
 4 Do Not Give Blood Without Reading This Leaflet, The UK Blood Transfusion Services, Department of Health, December 1995
 5 http://www.durex.com/scientific/faqs/faq_4.html as at 29th October 2000

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Please pray and act now

Please pray

  • For massive public controversy to stop the Government from using the Parliament Acts and to encourage them to accept Lady Young’s amendments.
  • That even if the Government goes ahead and uses the Parliament Acts, it will be done in the face of huge public opposition.
  • That the media will accurately report the issues.

Tips for writing

Write to your MP at The House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA. (If you do not know the name of your MP, call House of Commons information on 020 7219 4272. Be ready to give your postcode.)

If you voted for your MP, say so.

  • Say you oppose the Government using the Parliament Acts to force through a law which will allow men to commit buggery on 16 and 17 year old girls.
  • Point out that the public overwhelmingly oppose this.
  • Explain that anal intercourse is medically a very dangerous sexual activity.
  • Point out that reducing the age for the buggery of girls was not in the Labour Party Manifesto. Neither was reducing the age of homosexual consent.
  • Ask your MP to say whether he supports the Bill which allows the age for buggery on girls and boys to be lowered to 16.
  • Ask your MP what is wrong with equalising the age for buggery for heterosexuals and homosexuals at 18 rather than 16 as the Government want.
  • Point out that the amendment does not ‘wreck’ the Bill. Even after the House of Lords amendment, the Bill still permits homosexual acts (other than buggery) at the age of 16. Why must the age for buggery of girls (and boys) be lowered as well?

If you have time please also write to a local or a national newspaper and send a copy of your letter to the Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
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