RIGHTS groups yesterday supported Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga’s stance barring girls under 16 years from accessing contraceptives.
Chiwenga said this last week in the National Assembly in response to a report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, which advocated for rights to se_xual reproductive health services (SRHS), including access to contraceptives without parental consent.
Trinity Children’s Rights spokesperson Tarisai Dongo said allowing underage girls to access SRHS services would encourage them to engage in early se_x.
“At 16, some girls are likely to be engaging in se_xual activities, but that does not mean we should give them the leeway to access contraceptives. It’s like we are saying they may begin to indulge in se_xual activities at such a young age,” Dongo said.
She said government should consider conducting awareness campaigns on the effects of early se_x by young people, adding that some of the programmes could be done online.
Last week, the Health Portfolio Committee led by Ruth Labode called for removal of age restrictions for SRHS to curb early child preg_nancies and se_xually transmitted diseases like HIV and Aids.