The debate over a new Code on Childhood and Adolescence is raging in Peru.
The debate over a new Code on Childhood and Adolescence is
raging in Peru. On the one side are UNICEF, UNFPA, Save the
Children and a coalition of abortion-minded and radical
feminist groups, many, if not most, of whom are foreign
funded. These groups believe that the most important
“rights of the child” center around so-called
“sexual and reproductive rights.” They encourage
the early onset of sexual activity and massive condom
distribution schemes for kids as young as 14 to deal with
the increased risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted
diseases that will result.
On the other side are the Catholic Church, pro-life NGOs
and, of course, PRI, who believe that sexual pleasure, while
it has its place, is not the main point of human life.
Science shows that sex is best in lifelong monogamous
relationships called marriages, and that condoms are a
flimsy excuse for lack of self control in sexual matters
that, in the fumbling fingers of adolescents, do little to
stop either pregnancy or disease.
The debate centers around Article 27 of the Code, which is
called “Rights to Sexual and Reproductive
Health.” To understand what this phrase means, we have
to go back to the Action Programme of the International
Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in
1994. “Reproductive rights” was there advanced
as a panacea for poverty, by those who believed that the
only thing necessary to eradicate the poor was the
widespread availability of legal abortion, sterilization on
demand, and free contraception, along with enough sex
education to overcome the reluctance of women and children
to access these “health services.”
It is thus no surprise that pro-abortion NGOs such as
Manuela Ramos and PROMSEX are heavily promoting this
initiative. The new “sexual and reproductive
rights” being added to our legal framework would pave
the way for the legalization of abortion.
“Reproductive and Sexual Rights Services”
Article 27 mandates that the government provide, for
teenagers 14 years of age and older, access to
“information, guidance, and sexual and reproductive
health services.” It is important to note how
mechanistic the information provided in sex-ed courses is,
and how it totally lacks what would commonly be understood
as “guidance.” The training of character and
education in morals is considered to be irrelevant. The
emotional and psychological needs of children and
adolescents are ignored. Children are reduced to their
Contraceptives would be distributed to teenagers without the
foreknowledge or consent of their parents or guardians. Such
contraceptives would include invasive methods such as IUDs
or Depo-Provera injections, along with the indiscriminate
distribution of condoms. So-called “confidential
sexual health services” could also include vasectomies
or tubal ligations. Parents are to be shut out from making
medical decisions about their children if the treatment has
anything to do with sex, an arbitrary and indefensible
violation of parent’s rights.
UNICEF defends this attack on parents and their children by
alleging that high rates of teen pregnancy demand action.
But they undercut their own arguments by portraying their
initiative as an effort to help adolescents achieve
“sexual freedom,” that is, “the ability to
decide when to initiate a sexual life.” The principal
goal of such a “sexual life” is, in the view of
the U.N., pleasure seeking. Avoiding pregnancy and avoiding
sexually transmitted diseases are just secondary goals.
Phony Studies Refuted
The UN agency and its allies defends its efforts to
sexualize the young by citing “studies” that
they themselves have carried out and published. Independent
and objective scientific studies paint a very different
picture on age of sexual initiation.
A 2002 study by the group, Surveillance of Citizens Rights
in Health, gave the average age of adolescent sexual
initiation as “16.8 years old in men and the 18.9
years old in women.” However, the study went on to
note that “there are large variations between regions
and educational levels”.
The Ministry of Health of Peru carried out a 2010 Global
School Health Survey among students in their 2nd, 3rd and
4th year of secondary education. These students, who were
14, 15, and 16 years of age, reported that only 19.7% of
their number (28.3% of boys and 11.1% of girls) had had
According to the ongoing ENDES 2011 survey of demography and
family health, the median age of first sexual intercourse is
19.0 years in urban areas and 17.7 years in rural areas.
The late onset of sexual activity in Peru suggests that any
program to encourage “sexual and reproductive
rights” will only encourage sexual activity among
teenagers and result in higher rates of out-of-wedlock
pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
UNICEF attempts to justify its push for sexual rights for
kids by suggesting that they are already sufficiently
developed both physically and psychologically to decide
whether or not to have intercourse. This, as any parent of a
14-year-old can tell you, is patent nonsense.
The reason why Peruvian law, like the laws of most
countries, considers adolescents under the age of 18 to be
“juveniles” is precisely because they do not
possess the mental maturity to be considered adults. Why
would we exempt matters of sexuality from the general
protection that we afford, through parents, guardians, and
the law itself, to young people under the age of 18? The
earlier the onset of sexual activity, the more likely it is
to place the moral, psychological, and physical health of
the young at risk. Such a change in the law would weaken
existing legal protections against sexual abuse and
exploitation currently enjoyed by the young.
The imposition of “sexual and reproductive
rights” on Peru’s children should be resisted. The
claim that such an agenda serves to “protect childhood
and adolescence” is the obverse of the truth. There is
nothing more dangerous to the the child that this effort to
make him or her, in matters of sexuality, a free agent,
unprotected by either the law or parental love.
It is a strange and perverted agenda that has reduced the
Convention on the Rights of the Child to this.