Is Poland is taking a set back with its new anti-sex education bill?
In an effort to prevent pedophilia, some Polish citizens say their elected officials are directly enabling the situation. The Stop Paedophilia committee introduced a bill to the legislative branch that claims to protect minors from “sexual depravation and demoralization.” In order to do so, the bill threatens to jail anyone who “promotes or approves underage sexual activity” for three years. The governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has also proposed increasing that time to five years.
The problem is, the bill is far too broad in its definition of that crime. As such, anyone who even talks about sex to a minor could be punished. That ultimately means that Polish teachers couldn’t give students a Sex Ed class or advice. On top of that, doctors couldn’t legally talk to minors about safe sex practices, STI risks, or any other health-related issues involving sexual activity.
After the announcement of this bill, around 1,000 protestors showed up in Warsaw to announce their opposition to the rule. They held signs outside Warsaw’s parliament with slogans like “PiS off,” “Sexual democracy,” “Education protects against violence,” “Banning sex education is rape,” and simply “Shame.”
— Draginja Nadazdin (@DNadazdin) October 16, 2019
“I’m here to say that good sex is a good thing, and that education is needed for it to be good,” Warsaw protester Ludmila told AFP. “I regret our Catholic culture which consists of instilling fear in people by presenting sex as a danger.”
“The attempt to limit access to education is a direct attack on all of us,” said Anton Lewandowska, 23, from voluntary sex education group Ponton Group to Reuters. “Many people I know who do sex education are scared to do our work despite the fact that it is a basic right of every person.”
“I have children who don’t yet go to school. I would like to be able to talk to them one day about sex. This poorly written bill prevents me from doing so. It violates the Constitution,” sociologist and leftist lawmaker Magdalena Biejat told demonstrators, according to Yahoo News.
She then added that the bill, “creates an environment in which children won’t know how to say ‘no’ nor will they know when to say ‘yes.’ One where they won’t be able to talk to teachers or doctors… We will form potential paedophile victims.”
Young people have the right to learn and talk about sex.
Yet this very tweet could be a criminal offence if #Poland makes sexuality education illegal 🤯
— Amnesty EU (@AmnestyEU) October 17, 2019
This isn’t the first time that the conservative PiS party has launched an attack on sexuality-based politics. Critics accused the PiS of pushing homophobia during the latest election campaign. Members of the party called LGTBQ rights an invasive foreign influence that threatens Poland’s national identity.
In reaction to all of this opposition and protest, PiS lawmaker Marcin Ociepa says that fears of educators being jailed are an “overinterpretation of the bill.”
“This only says that it is not allowed to encourage a person younger than 15 … to have sex or to conduct other sexual activities,” Ociepa told private radio TOK FM.
But as we have learned time and time again, open the door for possible oppression and you’ll find yourself with it almost every time.