(CNSNews.com) – A June report from the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) suggests children of all countries and cultures are entitled to sexual and reproductive education beginning at age five.
The report, called International Guidelines on Sexual Education, was released in June in conjunction with the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization which works for universal access to “reproductive health care.”
In its rationale for creating the guidelines, the UNESCO report said it is “essential to recognize the need and entitlement of all young people to sexuality education.” An appendix backed that claim by pointing to a 2008 report from the International Planned Parenthood Federation that argued governments “are obligated to guarantee sexual rights,” and that “sexuality education is an integral component to human rights.”
The guidelines are designed, according to the report, to be “age-appropriate” and break down the suggested curriculum into four age groups: 5- to 8-year-olds, 9- to 12-year-olds, 12- to 15-year-olds and 15- to 18-year-olds.
For those aged 5 to 8, some key concepts to be discussed are:
-- “Touching and rubbing one’s genitals is called masturbation” and that “girls and boys have private body parts that can feel pleasurable when touched by oneself.”
-- That “people receive messages about sex, gender, and sexuality from their cultures and religions.”
-- That “all people regardless of their health status, religion, origin, race or sexual status can raise a child and give it the love it deserves.”
-- “Gender inequality,” “examples of gender stereotypes,” and “gender-based violence.”
-- Description of fertilization, conception, pregnancy, and delivery.
For those aged 9 to 12, key concepts include:
-- “specific steps involved in obtaining and using condoms and contraception, including emergency contraception” and the “signs and symptoms of pregnancy.”
-- That “legal abortion performed under sterile conditions by medically trained personnel is safe.”
-- Discussing the ideas of “homophobia, transphobia and abuse of power.”
-- Discussing that “every person has the right to decide whether to become a parent, including disable people and people living with HIV” as well as “ART (anti-retroviral therapy) and side-effects on puberty.”
-- That “both men and women can give and receive sexual pleasure” and the “definition and function of orgasm.”
-- Discussing “examples of harmful traditional practices,” listed examples of which include female genital cutting, honour killings, bride killings, and polygamy.”
For those aged 12 to 15, the report recommends discussing “access to safe abortion and post-abortion care” and the “use and misuse of emergency contraception.”
UNESCO also suggests those as young as 12 should be told, “the size and shape of the penis, vulva or breasts vary and do not affect reproduction or the ability to be a good sexual partner.”
By age 15, adolescents should be exposed “advocacy to promote the right to and access to safe abortion,” according to the guidelines.