Result of sex education deficit seen daily in pregnancy counselling centres

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Weaknesses in the quality of sex education provided to pupils in the State’s schools are seen “first hand every day” in pregnancy counselling centres, the Oireachtas committee on education has been told.

The committee on Tuesday heard from several experts on the quality of Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) provided in Irish schools.

Niall Behan, chief executive of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), said the organisation witnesses the effects of poor quality sex education “first hand every day” in its pregnancy counselling centres.

“It is women and girls who largely bear the burden of inadequate sexuality education,” he said, adding that this was in cases of unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.

Jane Donnelly of Atheist Ireland told the committee the result of the recent referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment “changes everything” when it comes to providing sex education to students.

Main problems

The vote to liberalise Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws shows politicians “can no longer assume” that the majority of Catholic parents “want Catholic sex education for their children”, she said.

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