Ugandan lawmakers have rejected a government proposal to allow 15-year-old girls to access birth control pills to reduce high levels of pregnancy.
Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa called the idea “devilish”, saying it would “formalise [the] defilement” of girls.
A senior health ministry official said the “stigma” around young people using contraceptives should end.
Nearly a quarter of 15- to 19-year-old girls in Uganda are either pregnant or are already mothers, a survey says.
The rate increased sharply during the Covid lockdown when schools were shut for almost two years.
During a highly charged parliamentary debate on Tuesday, MP Lucy Akello questioned whether the age of consent was being lowered from the current 18 years to 15 years, the state-owned New Vision newspaper reported.
She described the proposal to offer contraceptives to 15-year-old girls as “scary”.