Poland: Prison for sex education and contraception prescription

translated from Oko Press

The Sejm will vote on the "Stop pedophilia" project on October 15. The project is aimed at sex educators who are threatened with up to three years in prison for teaching about human sexuality and erotic life. But not only them. Also authors and publishers of books or magazines for teenagers in which contraception and sex are discussed.

The civic draft amendment to the penal code, under which signatures were collected by the organization "Stop pedophilia", was sent to the Sejm in July. The first reading will take place after the elections, that is on October 15 during the "hung up" sitting of the Sejm. Activists collected signatures, including in the famous tents with the inscription "Stop pedophilia". But their bill has nothing to do with counteracting pedophile acts.

What's in the design?

The project authors want to ban "demoralization and sexualization of children." To this end, they propose to amend art. 200b of the Penal Code. Currently, this provision provides:

Art. 200b Whoever publicly promotes or praises pedophile behavior is subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 2 years.

The Stop Pedophilia initiative involves developing this provision by several points. Its content would read:

Art. 200b §1. Whoever publicly promotes or praises pedophile behavior is subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 2 years.

§2. The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone who publicly propagates or commends minors' sexual intercourse.

§3. If the perpetrator commits the act specified in §2 by means of mass communication, he shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 3 years.

§4. Whoever promotes or approves of a minor undertaking sexual intercourse or other sexual activity, acting in connection with the occupation, occupation or activities related to upbringing, education, treatment or care of minors or acting on the premises of a school or other establishment or educational institution or guardianship, subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 3 years.

What does it mean?

The original provision only applies to public praising the crime, because these are pedophile acts against people under 15 years of age. Therefore, a person who, for example, claims that having intercourse with thirteen-year-olds is okay can answer.

"Stop pedophilia" introduces in paragraph 2 the concept of "approving juvenile sexual intercourse." A minor is any person under 18 years of age. According to the law, 15, 16, and 17 years old can live together. They can coexist with each other, for example. And this is not very much liked by the authors of the project, who justify complaining that punishment is "limited only to the situation when an adult coexists with a minor, completely ignoring the fact that more often propagates and praises situations when the minors engage in intercourse together".

In paragraph 4 of the draft, we see, in turn, a record about praising "the minor undertaking sexual intercourse or other sexual activity". There is also no restriction on public praise in this provision. Masturbation is undoubtedly the "other sexual activity" that minors undertake. Pursuant to this provision, anyone who in connection with their profession (about this in a moment) would say that teen masturbation is okay could answer

This is obviously absurd, because in order for such a rule to be enforced, you should first prohibit masturbation and intercourse by people up to the age of 18. But the authors of the project do not care about such details. The recipe clearly is something else.

At censored sex educators ...

"Stop pedophilia" in the justification of your project directly indicates that the main goal is to fight sex education. "Responsible for" sex education "of the environment enter other educational institutions in Poland, awakening children sexually and promoting homosexuality, masturbation and other sexual activities among students" - they warn.

The justification for the harmfulness of sex education is a collection of anecdotes, opinions not supported by research, and bizarre wording. For example, it states that sex education is a source of addiction to pornography and a source of "increased sexual behavior" (whatever that means).

As examples of classes suspected of promoting pedophile behavior, the authors of the project also directly mention classes on:

  • contraception;

  • prevention of pregnancy among minors and sexually transmitted diseases (e.g. HIV and AIDS),

  • puberty and adolescence; the document mentions in particular such problems as:
    - equality, tolerance, diversity,
    - preventing discrimination and exclusion,
    - counteracting violence,
    - homophobia
    - gender identity, gender.

... teachers, doctors, gynecologists ...

According to the new wording of art. 200b not only sex educators could be punished, but virtually anyone who "promotes sexual behavior among minors". For example, a biology teacher who would explain to high school students what sexual reproduction and how to protect against unwanted pregnancy would be at risk.

The gynecologist who prescribes contraceptives to a 17-year-old would be subject to criminal liability, because this also falls under the "praise of minors engaging in sexual intercourse" and occurs "in connection with the exercise of the profession." A psychologist who would tell a teenager that there is nothing wrong with masturbating (praising other sexual activities) would be punishable by criminal liability.

... as well as publishers, journalists, activists

But the circle of people exposed to criminal liability for "praising and promoting the sexual intercourse of minors" can be much wider. The authors indicate that children are subject to depravation not only at school, but also outside of it:

"The subject of sexual depravity also appears during out-of-school outings, including for screenings of films, plays and trips to the offices of associations, foundations and organizations dealing with the subject of 'sex education'.

But school is a school. Paragraph 3 of the draft provides for up to three years in prison for "praising the commencement of sexual intercourse by means of mass media." This means that virtually all publications that are targeted at young people and relate to sex and sexuality can be censored. That is, letters for teenagers, entire websites.

Therefore, you could punish, for example, WAB Publishing House, which published the book "sexedpl", as well as its author Anja Rubik, who promotes her in the media and gives interviews. The same responsibility would lie with broadcasters or magazine publishers who would publish such interviews.

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