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Senators tackle inclusion of birth control use in teen curriculum

The possible inclusion of contraceptive use in the curriculum of adolescent age students was discussed in the Senate plenary session on Tuesday as Senator Risa Hontiveros sponsored a bill seeking to institutionalize a national policy for preventing teenage pregnancies.

Senate Bill No. 1334 or the"Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Act of 2020" defined adolescents as the population aged 10 to 21 years.

During the interpellation period, Senate President Vicente Sotto III asked Hontiveros whether the measure pushes to include contraceptive use in the curriculum and whether it would allow the distribution of contraceptives in schools.

"Not necessarily because this is comprehensive sexuality education it does not speak specifically about provision of family planning products so when we include here effective contraceptive use in comprehensive sexuality education, it's teaching the adolescent students the range of family planning methods," Hontoveros responded.

She said it could be taught in subjects like science or social studies.

Sotto asked if it will not be taken as teaching "promiscuity" as adolescents would be knowledgeable about "effective contraceptive use" at their young age.

He raised that there are many Christian schools in the country that are reluctant to discuss such topics in the classroom.

"It's to debunk myths in order to enable couples, when they are of the proper age, not when they are still adolescents, to plan their family," Hontiveros said.

"It promotes abstinence as a positive choice and it also teaches adolescents how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections should they engage in sexual activities," she added.

Sotto asked Hontiveros to categorically answer if the bill would allow the distribution of contraceptives in schools.

The latter said the answer is no, stressing that comprehensive sexual education deals with "the imparting of the content, not the distribution of the supplies."

The interpellation of the bill was suspended and is expected to be continued for further discussions. — DVM, GMA News