EU lawmakers have condemned a Polish bill that would ban the promotion of sexual intercourse and activity among children up to 15 years of age, amid claims the legislation would prohibit sex education in schools.

The bill came before the Polish parliament (Diet) following a constitutional petition signed by over 250,000 citizens calling for the restrictions.

The European Parliament resolution condemning the proposed bill was supported by 471 MEPs and opposed by 128. The resolution calls on the European Commission to intervene on the basis of an alleged human rights violation in denying sex education to Polish children.

The Polish government however insists that its aim is to protect vulnerable children from paedophilia.

The contentious paragraph of the bill, titled “Stop Paedophilia” reads:

Anyone who promotes or approves sexual intercourse or other sexual activity by a minor, in connection with performing the position, occupation or performing activities related to upbringing, education, health care or care of minors, or operating on school premises or other educational or child care institution, is liable to imprisonment up to 3 years.

Addressing claims in Brussels that teachers could be jailed for offering sex-education, Poland’s newly elected Law and Justice (PiS) MP Marcin Ociepa said this was “an over-interpretation of the bill.”

“This only says that it is not allowed to encourage a person younger than 15 … to have sex or to conduct other sexual activities,” Ociepa told TOK FM.

The ruling PiS party have also opposed numerous attempts to include LGBT issues in Polish sex education, claiming such efforts would “sexualize” children. Most sex education programmes in Poland teach students how to prepare for family life, though some schools in cities governed by left-wing politicians have went further.

Led by the main opposition party, Civic Platform, the capital city of Warsaw introduced optional pro-LGBT sex-education and counselors for its schools in February 2019.

However, following October’s election victory for PiS, the latest sex education bill is expected to pass through the Diet with ease early this year.