Controversial sex education bill passed in Romania’s Parliament after two years of debate between political parties.
The sex education law, modified into ‘health education law’, was adopted on June 23 by 224 votes to 1, with 49 abstentions.
The law stipulates that health education may only be introduced in schools beginning in the eighth grade and with the parents’ written permission.
Romanian President Klaus Johannis contested the normative act before the Constitutional Court, but after the Court overruled his objections, the President ordered the bill back to Parliament for revision. The president urged the Romanian Constitutional Court to declare that the law on protecting and promoting children’s rights is unconstitutional as a whole and contested the requirement that sex education be taught in schools only with parental approval.
What started the controversy?
The term “sex education” lifted spirits during the voting, especially among the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance for the Union of Romanians Party lawmakers who teamed up against Union Save Romania Party lawmakers who disagreed that the bill should be referred to as “sexual education” rather than “education for health.”
It must be mentioned that Romania is the top European country when it comes to teenage motherhood. According to a Save Children Romania study, almost a quarter of the European teenage mothers are Romanian. Many disputes have arisen between the parties and their members, contradicting each other if this law will solve the situation or worsen it.
The idea to make this law mandatory, but with parental permission, was put out by the Ministry of Education. Currently, health education classes are optional. According to data from the Ministry of Education, only 7-9% of students in each class (from first to twelfth grade) choose to enroll.
There is an endless debate around the ‘sex education’ subject in Romania. The truth is that no matter how you put it, this situation becomes inappropriate. If it will be effective remains to be seen, but the focus in the Romanian education system should be on improving the system by encouraging young people to learn and continuing their studies, not creating controversy. Maybe in the future, the Minister of Education will also think about a project to modernize schools or solve the problem of school dropouts, it would undoubtedly be necessary.