Ugandans are debating on a contentious proposal to allow 15 year-old girls access contraceptive pills and other birth control methods.
The debate has sharply divided Ugandans, some supporting it while others trashing the idea and demanding government stops it.
Thomas Tayebwa the Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament described the proposal as “devilish”, saying it would “formalise defilement” of girls.
However, according to a survey conducted by Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) 2022, nearly a quarter of 15- to 19-year-old girls in Uganda are either pregnant or are already mothers.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Lucy Akello a Member of Parliament described the proposal as “scary” and questioned whether the age of consent was being lowered from the current 18 years to 15 years.
On the floor of parliament, Margaret Muhanga the Primary Healthcare Minister said the proposal had not been approved by the government but had been made by a senior medical officer, Dr Charles Olaro.
She asked if it was better for a child to get pregnant and then go on to die while giving birth, adding there was “so many teenage pregnancies”.
Dr Olaro in defense of the proposal noted that access to reproductive health information was “not just a matter of choice; it is a matter of fundamental rights”.
“It is essential that we foster an environment where youth can access information on sexual and reproductive health and contraceptives for those in need without stigma, discrimination, or judgment,” Dr Olaro was quoted as saying.
However, the deputy speaker said the proposal “should never see the light of day”.