As the whole world is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic that disturbed almost all the countries, Poland is returning to the infamous bill called “Stop Paedophilia”. The first reading 

of this bill by the current Polish Sejm is scheduled for April 15-16. This very document met countrywide opposition less than half a year ago: opposition violent enough to cause a spontaneous public protest not only in front of the Sejm building, but also in several Polish towns and cities. Just like back in October, this time depending on the upcoming reading and voting of the bill the “Stop Paedophilia” bill might get accepted, rejected or moved to be further processed by a parliamentary commission.

As a reminder – the “Stop Paedophilia” bill assumes a change in the provision of Article 200b in the Polish Penal Code. According to the amendment, “praise or promotion of sexual intercourse between minors” shall be punished with imprisonment for two to three years (based on the circumstances). A more thorough statement on this act was published six months ago [1]; nothing about it has changed, since the project remained unchanged as well.

The projects, which presents itself as a means of protecting the youth from “depravity”, is nothing but a way of harming both the youth and those who provide them with knowledge and support. According to the bill, any educator, teacher, tutor, midwife or even a doctor could be imprisoned for talking to young people about birth control and safer sex or prescribing contraceptives to anyone under the age of 18!

“Stop Paedophilia” is a shameless, deceitful attack on the basic rights of young people living in Poland. If it is passed, young people will be effectively deprived of comprehensive gynecologic care and lose an important means of gaining knowledge about their own sexuality, their own bodies and their own health! Such a law would also inevitably lead to a dramatic surge in cases of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, as well as it would deny any help to those who many a time unbeknownst to them are victims of sexual abuse.

It is time to stop treating the youth as second-class citizens! Young Poles are coping with the lowest self-esteem compared to their European peers [2], they have frequent suicidal thoughts [3] and the worst access to contraceptives in Europe [3], while the psychiatric care of underage persons in Poland can be called nothing short of a cruel joke. To top it all, although they deeply care about it, as they get older, it gets harder for them to communicate with their closest relatives about these issues [5], which leaves many of young people alone, without any support whatsoever.

Dear Members of Parliament! The future of the “Stop Paedophilia” bill, as well as the future of every young person in Poland, is in your hands! Rejecting this bill is not only a matter of basic human decency, but also of basic human rights of hundreds of thousands of young people in Poland the right to receive education and decide about one’s own life. Thus, we are strongly objecting to this bill being accepted or moved to further proceedings. The same opinion is shared by the Polish Sexological Society [6]. The only solution that ensures our youth’s safety is rejecting the “Stop Paedophilia” bill, followed by guaranteeing access to comprehensive sex education in all the schools in the country, which has a social backing of about 80% Poles [7].

We are appealing to the politicians stop making more problems for the youth and start listening to what they say! And they say what we could hear in October in front of the Sejm during one of our group members’ speech we are with Ponton. Reject this ridiculous bill and focus on things that are really important for young people, such as child psychiatry, education and domestic violence prevention.

 

[1] Position of the Ponton Group on the “Stop Paedophilia” project, 2019, 

http://ponton.org.pl/en/statements/position-of-the-ponton-group-on-the-stop-paedophilia-project/

[2] Zdrowie i zachowania zdrowotne młodzieży szkolnej w Polsce – wyniki badań HBSC, Instytut Matkii Dziecka, 2014, 

http://www.imid.med.pl/images/do-pobrania/Zdrowie_i_zachowania_zdrowotne_www.pdf

[3] Przemoc, próby samobójcze, okaleczenia – alarmujące wyniki najnowszego badania Fundacji Dajemy Dzieciom Siłę, 13.12.2018, 

https://fdds.pl/przemoc-proby-samobojcze-samookaleczenia-alarmujace-wyniki-najnowszego-badania-fundacji-dajemy-dzieciom-sile/

[4] Contraception Atlas 2019, 

https://www.contraceptioninfo.eu/sites/contraceptioninfo.eu/files/map_cci-english_english_v9-web.pdf

[5] Dzieci się liczą 2017. Raport o zagrożeniach bezpieczeństwa i rozwoju dzieci w Polsce, Fundacja Dajemy Dzieciom Siłę, 

https://fdds.pl/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Raport-Dzieci-si%C4%99-licz%C4%85-2017.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1bMHMCSFhOLNOtwt2FmoZCaO9XuSDc4d5wqkGK_lnfKTSt7lPdAV3Pf8k

[6] Stanowisko Polskiego Towarzystwa Seksuologicznego w sprawie projektu ustawy o zmianie ustawy z dnia 6 czerwca 1997r. Kodeks Karny (zawartej w druku sejmowym nr 3751) penalizującej działania z zakresu edukacji seksualnej, 2019, 

http://pts-seksuologia.pl/sites/strona/114/stanowisko-polskiego-towarzystwa-seksuologicznego-w-sprawie-projektu-ustawy-o-zmianie-ustawy-z-dnia-6-czerwca-1997r-kodeks-karny-zawartej-w-druku-sejmowym-nr-3751-penalizujacej-dzialania-z-zakresu-edukacji-seksualnej

[7] IBRIS, October 2019.

 

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