Parents in Philippines objecting to sex education program targeting children

.- Despite suffering a legal setback, a group of 30 parents in the Philippines is pushing ahead in its appeal of the country's implementation of a United Nations-backed sex education program, which is aimed at children as young as nine years old.

On June 21, the parents had launched a petition to file a temporary restraining order against DepEd. Memo No. 261, a sex-ed initiative in the Philippines supported by the U.N. Population Fund. In addition to targeting children as young as nine, the bill seeks to inform on topics such as fertility reduction, HIV/AIDS prevention and family planning services, including contraceptive methods.

The program is being piloted in select schools around the country.

In their appeal, the parents argued that the legislation is unconstitutional as it violates the primary rights of parents to develop the moral character of their children. The parents also claimed that it was unnecessary for children as young as nine to be taught about reproductive health.

On July 5, a judge in a Quezon City court ruled against the parents' appeal, citing insufficient proof that their children attend any of the schools that are piloting the initiative. Because of this, stated the judge, the schools had not actually violated these specific parents' rights.

A lawyer for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), however, said that despite the judge's denial of the appeal the case will still advance though in court with a scheduled hearing later this month. According to the CBCP, more parents are planning to file additional charges against the program.

Parental opposition to government mandated sex education has also occurred recently in Spain, where the Socialist government is planning to launch what will be called Education for the Citizenry II: obligatory sex-education in all schools. The program will be based on the “educational” guidelines of the country's new law on abortion.

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