A group of Zimbabweans are seeking at least 10 000 signatures online to prop up a petition against government following a recent push by legislators and like-minded locals for children to be allowed access to contraceptives.
“Say NO to Premature Access to Contraceptives,” reads the petition under Change.org.
“We say NO to the proposed amendments to the Public Health Act aimed at creating a law that allows children as young as 12 years old to have access to Reproductive Health Services, without parental consent, in particular contraceptives.”
The petitioners prop up their arguments using all factors raised by those seeking contraceptives to be afforded to minors.
They say that the Bible is clear about the sexual conduct of all believers regardless of age. Sex is to be consummated in marriage only. Outside of that, any sexual activity is sin.
The group further says, “the Constitution of Zimbabwe defines a child to be a boy or girl under the age of 18 years of age”.
“The State has to adopt policies and measures to ensure the best interest of the child, enjoyment of family or parental care among other rights. The Law further makes it an offence to have consensual sex with a young person under the age of 16 years,” further reads the petition now signed by 9 986 people.
Further argues the petitioners, “Our National Statistics suggest that the median age at first intercourse for women in Zimbabwe is 18.7 years. 6% percent of women age 25-49 have had sexual intercourse before age 15, and 40% before age 18. 43% of the females and 5% of the males aged 13-17 years who had their sexual debut in the 12 months preceding the survey, had unwanted first sexual intercourse, that is, they were forced, pressured, tricked or threatened to engage in sexual intercourse. Another study by the Ministry of Health shows that 0.2% of children aged 10-14 years old were ever pregnant and 33% of adolescent girls aged 18-19 years.”
Some local MPs have advocated access to contraceptives by minors arguing the nation could no longer continue to pretend children were not indulging in sex.
They further argued, while abstinence was paramount, enabling children to access contraception would allow children to practise safer sex.
But Change.org disagreed in its petition.
“… This agenda if allowed will succeed to; Weaken the pillar of the family, to remove children from the blessing of honouring and obeying their parents, to remove the fear of God by defiling the marriage bed.”