Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is proposing new legislation to further limit sex education, trampling children’s rights to education, health, and information.
The country’s national curriculum is already highly restrictive on these matters, and in parts it’s nonsensical, even dangerous. The official “Preparation for Family Life” course is abstinence-only education. The lesson is basically: don’t even think about anything sexual until you’re married. Because, sure, that’s realistic.
It also includes misinformation about reproductive health and sexuality and perpetuates myths and ugly stereotypes rather than provide evidence-based sex education in line with international and regional standards.
Because the national curriculum is so backward, nongovernmental organizations are often the only providers of comprehensive, scientifically accurate sex education to young people in Poland. The ruling party is now trying to stop this too.
The proposed new legislation, if enacted, would restrict access to schools for these nongovernment organizations providing science-based sex education. Ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński says the new law is intended to curb “all sorts of strange ideas.”
But he and his party are the ones with the strange ideas.
It’s well established that quality sex education providing honest, accurate, and inclusive information helps reduce adolescent pregnancy, maternal mortality, and HIV, and promotes healthy relationships. It’s odd that Poland’s leadership doesn’t want that for the country and clings to its unscientific ideology.
And it’s not the first time we’ve seen this in Poland. Regular Daily Brief readers will recall that similar legislation was put forward twice by PiS politician and Minister of Education Przemysław Czarnek. President Andrzej Duda vetoed both efforts, the latter following widespread protests from students, teachers, and civil society groups.
People in Poland understand children have a right to age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health education based on scientific evidence. Sadly, what the ruling party keeps giving them instead is radical irrationality – ignorance over information.