Pro-choice and anti-abortion activists weigh in on sex ed debate

Ontario's sexual education curriculum has become an important issue leading up to the provincial election, so we spoke to pro-choice and anti-abortion activists at the March for Life rally in Ottawa to get their thoughts.
CBC asked students attending Thursday's anti-abortion and pro-choice marches in downtown Ottawa for their thoughts on teaching sex-ed in school. 1:59

Ontario's sexual education curriculum has become an important issue leading up to the provincial election, with Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford vowing to scrap and replace the Liberal government's curriculum, which was updated in 2015.

Although Ford hasn't said what he would replace it with if he becomes premier, he has said he would "examine the entire curriculum and consult with parents and teachers to ensure Ontario children have the essential skills, including math, needed for the jobs of the future."

CBC News spoke with activists on both sides of the abortion issue in Ottawa Thursday during the March for Life anti-abortion rally on Parliament Hill to find out how they feel about Ontario's sexual education curriculum.

March for Life ralliers (top) and pro-choice protesters weigh in on Ontario's sexual education debate. (CBC/Idil Mussa)

Paola Garcia and Arturo Perez

"I feel that it is important to educate your children on the issue of sexuality because it is an issue that is affecting children a lot more. But I do feel that it is a parent's job and that to teach too much explicit things to children is kind of not necessarily a good thing," said Paola Garcia (left), who is anti-abortion.

"I believe that parents do have a major role but it is also the school that should help a little bit. But of course, it should lean more to the parents to teach their children about their sexuality," said Arturo Perez (right), who is also anti-abortion.

(Idil Mussa/CBC)

Amy Chretien

"Sexual education applies to way more than the issue of abortion. It applies to everything. It applies to consent, it applies to happiness, it applies to the ability to know your own body and feel like you own it and control it, which is the truth, said Amy Chretien, who is pro-choice.

(Idil Mussa/CBC)

Karolina Jach

"I think at a certain age kids are too young to learn about certain things, and when you're in Grade 3 to 6 I don't think the things that the government is portraying to us should be taught in schools. At a certain age we do go to maturity and that's when we can be taught these things. But unfortunately when we're so young, kids shouldn't hear that," said Karolina Jach, who is anti-abortion.

(Idil Mussa/CBC )

Audrey Monette

"I didn't have any sexual education in school. We had courses on religion, we had courses on ethics and morals, but nothing on sex. So I had to sort of talk about it with my parents, sort of talk about it with my friends. But we have to learn on our own, right? And that's a big issue we have for sure," said Audrey Monette (centre), who is pro-choice.

(Idil Mussa/CBC)

Abiramy Ongaralingam

"My parents wouldn't educate me properly because in our household it wasn't spoken of. So, when I was educated in elementary school and high school, it really helped me," said Abiramy Ongaralingam, who is anti-abortion.

(Idil Mussa/CBC)