Just like abortion, sex talks are taboo in Poland. Sex education and contraception are avoided topics in schools.
By Alison Bertho
At just 16 years old Aleksandra Wesołowska took part in the Black Monday protest, but her plea was for better sex education.
“Our books ignore the topic of health, prevention and sexual rights,” says high-school student Wesołowska. “I am disappointed because in other European countries, sex educations lessons are open minded discussions about contraceptive and STDs preventions.”
“To be pro or against abortion, you first need the knowledge and understanding of the entire process,” says Marta Habior film producer and feminist activist. “But children are being taught about sexuality in church and not in biology class”.
The 1993 law on abortion obliged the government to introduce into schools classes on sexual health, including information on birth control and responsible procreation.
“The assumption is that if you educate women on how to get pregnant there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies,” says Agnieszka Graff, adjunct professor in the American Studies Centers at the Warsaw University and Women Rights activist. “But that is not the right-wing argument, and so they argue that sex education demoralize children.”
While pro-choice and feminist organizations think sex education is the way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions, pro-life organizations think that it is the cause.
“The education about sexuality should be taught at home by the parents and not in schools,” says Anna Wiejak, journalist at Prawy.pl and pro-life activist for foundation SOS. “The main result of sex education in schools is the sexualization of children as teaching about sexual relations and contraception encourage children to try it.”
However, sex educators like Maria Cygan, a volunteer at Ponton, a sexual health organization affiliated with the Federation for Women and Family Planning, say it is absurd to think that educating people about sexuality would push them to do it more.
“Contraception is the source of the problem, educators and the government should tackle it,” says Cygan.