Romanian Parliament nixes mandatory sex education following protest from Orthodox Church

Bucharest, June 4, 2020

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Center-right and center-left Parliamentarians in Romania united in a vote on Wednesday, June 3, for an amendment to a law promulgated by President Klaus Iohannis two months ago that originally made sexual education a mandatory part of school curricula throughout the nation, reports Balkan Insight.

The change comes after the Romanian Orthodox Church issued a statement opposing the obligatory nature of the classes, calling for parents to be able to retain the right to decide how their child will be educated in such matters, as provided for by the Romanian constitution. Studies show that sex education in public schools can damage a child’s innocence and purity, the Church argued.

More than 80% of Romanians identify as Orthodox Christians.

“The compulsory enrolling of pupils in sex education programs is an attack on the children’s innocence, preventing their natural development and marking them for life,” reads the Church’s press release.

The previous version of the law mandated that at least once a semester, schools offer “educational programmes for life, including sexual education for children, in order to prevent the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy in minors.”

Under the amended law, proposed by MPs from the National Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party and awaiting promulgation from the president, there is no longer any mention of “sexual education.” Rather, it speaks of “education for life, including health education,” and the program is no longer mandatory. Instead, parents must give written consent for their children to participate.

The amendment thus comes closer to the Church’s stance. “We believe that the preparation for intimate and family life must be left primarily to the family who can correctly and objectively assess the stage of psycho-physical, intellectual and emotional development of the child,” the Church’s statement against the original law reads.

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