BC NDP passes resolution to ensure unbiased sex education in public schools

For immediate release

VICTORIA – The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada is celebrating the passage of a resolution at the BC NDP Convention last weekend that will safeguard evidence-based sexual health education. The resolution was based on evidence that anti-abortion groups have infiltrated some BC public schools by offering to teach sex education for free.  [Text of resolution follows press release]

“Our research shows that eleven anti-choice groups in BC offer sex-ed programs to schools – primarily ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ that often misinform and manipulate people seeking abortion,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC). Several of these groups have been delivering their sex education programs in public schools in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, and Okanagan. Nationally, ARCC also found that 40% of “crisis pregnancy centres” in Canada offer sex-ed classes to schools.

“We’ve got to prevent anti-abortion groups from teaching sex education in our public schools, because they lack professional training, their perspective is biased and stigmatizing, and they may impart misinformation on contraception and other topics,” said Arthur. “Sex education in BC is mandatory because it’s crucial for health and welfare – it should be seen as a human right. So we’re thrilled to see such strong support by the BC NDP Party and its members to ensure unbiased sex-ed in public schools.”

Two ARCC members helped secure passage of the resolution by speaking in favour of it at the BC NDP convention. Afterwards, they said:

“It’s important that teachers use resources for sex and reproductive education that are fact-based and unbiased,” said Lori Mayhew, an ARCC member from Delta BC. “And government needs to make sure schools are funded sufficiently so they can afford to either train the teachers properly or bring in unbiased resources to help them.”

“I have 3 grandchildren who all attend public school in West Kelowna and they are my heart’s delight,” said ARCC member Susan Davenport of Kelowna. “Sex Ed is a required part of their curriculum and they deserve honest and inclusive content. Anti-abortion organizations are getting into schools under the guise of ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ because there are few guidelines or content requirements in place. The NDP government needs to ensure that teachers have access to the tools and resources that they need, to deliver the comprehensive and inclusive content set out in this resolution.”

Background: ARCC published a report earlier this year showing that most “crisis pregnancy centres” (CPCs) are religiously affiliated anti-abortion agencies whose main objective is to dissuade pregnant people from choosing to terminate their pregnancy. Staff at CPCs are mostly untrained volunteers who provide “peer counselling” from a perspective rooted in traditional Christian sexual morality.

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Resolution passed Nov 18, 2023 at BC NDP Convention

Evidence-based Sexual Health Education in Schools
Women and Gender Rights Committee

BECAUSE several anti-abortion groups in BC have been delivering biased sexual health education in public schools;

BECAUSE educators in BC should rely on evidence-based tools to deliver age-appropriate sexual health education, in particular the guidelines developed by the Sex Information & Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN);

BECAUSE school districts should act to prevent religious and anti-abortion groups from delivering sexual health education in public schools in BC, and ensure that sexual health teaching in public schools adheres to SIECCAN guidelines;

BECAUSE school districts should mandate that third parties delivering sexual health education cannot be affiliated with religious organizations or groups that oppose reproductive rights or the rights of 2SLGBTQIA+ students; and disqualify third parties that deliver sexual health education that misinforms, is biased, omits information to support 2SLGBTQIA+ students, or excludes information on consent, contraception, and abortion; and

BECAUSE Nanaimo/Ladysmith Public Schools provide an example of how the SIECCAN standards can be applied; now

THE BC NDP WILL call on the provincial government to communicate with school districts to follow the teaching guidelines developed by Sex Information & Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN).

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