Tayebwa Urges Government to Decline Suggestions on Adolescent Birth Control

Thomas Tayebwa, the deputy speaker of the Ugandan parliament, has petitioned the executive branch to reject the policy permitting females as young as 15 to use birth control.

The country’s Ministry of Health unveiled the measures, which include giving young people condoms and birth control tablets. According to Tayebwa, the proposal will promote youthful promiscuity and be contrary to the cultural norms of the nation.

He provided updates on the situation to the public via his X (Twitter) account.

“I asked the executive not to approve the policy allowing girls to use contraceptives starting at age 15,” he stated. This occurred following the crucial topic being brought up by Amuru District Woman MP Hon. Lucy Akello on the Floor of Parliament. I equated this move to  legitimizing sexual violence in Uganda. We cannot accept it.”

“We pray that the devil doesn’t find his way  and such thoughts should never come into the minds of our people because it would imply that we have given up on our girl children by formalizing defilement,” he added.

The Deputy Speaker commented that the proposal to offer contraception services implies an admission of failure. Instead, they support stronger monitoring to discourage such vices. The Deputy Speaker expressed relief that the proposal has not yet become a policy as he doesn’t want to legitimize the use of contraceptives.

Expanding access to contraception and ensuring that need for family planning is satisfied are essential for achieving universal access to reproductive healthcare services, as called for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The statistics below show that the reproductive health needs of young people are not being met.

  • Uganda’s National Adolescent Health Policy of 2004 set a target to halve the proportion of women who have their first child before 20 years of age from 59% to 31%. Today, 51.7% of Ugandan women are still having their first child before age 20.
  • Seven in ten sexually active young women are not using any form of contraception, including three in ten who express a desire to delay childbearing.
  • Resulting pregnancies among adolescents contribute to 24% of maternal deaths.
  • Among women aged 15-19, 24% are either pregnant or are already mothers, and 24% of women aged 15-24 have had an abortion.

What are the potential consequences or subsequent actions for adolescent females following the prohibition of contraceptive utilization to avert unintended pregnancy by the Ugandan parliament?