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UN says Vatican ban on birth control, sex ed harms teens

'Sex ed, HIV prevention should be mandatory in Catholic schools'

05 February, 15:28
UN says Vatican ban on birth control, sex ed harms teens (see related) (ANSA) - Geneva, February 5 - The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said Wednesday the Vatican's ban on birth control and sexual education in the myriad Catholic schools, orphanages, and other child welfare institutions it runs around the world places teenagers at risk of unwanted pregnancies and disease.

The Vatican's position hinders Article 24 of the 1989 United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, which says children have the right to be as healthy as possible and to access medical care when needed, according to the Committee. The Holy See should "overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information," the Committee said.

This includes family planning, contraceptives, and preventing and treating HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The Vatican should make sexual- and reproductive-health education and prevention of HIV/AIDS part of the mandatory curriculum of Catholic schools, according to the Committee.

The Holy See should also actively let teenagers know about "the harm that early marriage and early pregnancy can cause, and ensure that Catholic organizations protect the rights of pregnant children, adolescent mothers and their children," the Committee said.

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