In a resolution put to the vote on Thursday, MEPs express their deep concern over a Polish draft law that could put teachers who provide sex education in prison.
In the text adopted by 471 votes in favour, 128 against and 57 abstentions, MEPs criticise a draft law that seeks to make the provision of sex education to minors a crime in Poland. This initiative to amend a Polish law against paedophilia threatens teachers with up to three years in prison and increasing this penalty to five years has been proposed.
The European Parliament condemns the shift in Poland towards misinforming young people, and stigmatising and banning sexuality in education. It calls on the Polish Parliament to refrain from adopting the bill, which follows recent attempts to limit sexual and reproductive rights in Poland, including the right to abortion.
Protect young people from abuse through better education
The resolution encourages all EU countries to provide comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education in schools. MEPs stress that lack of information and education about sex and sexuality puts the safety and wellbeing of young people at risk and makes them more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, abuse and violence, including online harassment.
Teaching young people about gender equality, consent and mutual respect can help to prevent and combat gender stereotypes, homophobia, transphobia and gender-based violence, say MEPs.
Recognising the important role of civil society in providing sex education, MEPs call for these organisations to be adequately funded at EU level, be it through the 2021 – 2027 Rights and Values programme or other EU pilot projects. They also call on the Council to address the Polish draft law in the Article 7 (1) related hearings.
Watch video recording of debate here