Legalising contraceptives to minors invites sex predators: Masarira

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By FARAIMUNASHE CHIKUMBIRIKE

RIGHTS defender, Linda Masarira has stuck her guns out over the ongoing debate about sexual and reproductive rights in Zimbabwe, when she applauded those women resisting the controversial move by Parly to reduce the age of consent to access sexual reproductive services to 12 years,

Masarira said it was clear that at the end of the day the alien move was tantamount to deparenting the African girl child.

In a Tweet Masarira said she was proud of all the women in the country fighting against the dishing out of contraceptives to minors.

“Women in Zimbabwe have made me proud today. Our position as mothers in Harare is clear. We have unanimously agreed that a child is a child and should not have consent to access sexual reproductive services at the age of 12. We are Africans and will not subscribe to Eurocentric views,” she twitted.

Masarira said the fight by the mothers was to prevent immorality as the issuing of contraceptives to minors will expose them more to child sexual predators.

“We can’t have laws to protect immorality at the same time exposing the girl child to paedophiles, sexual abuse and cancers from prolonged use of contraceptives.

“Reducing the age of consent will only rupture the country’s moral and social structure,” she said.

She added that instead of focusing on a debate on reducing the age of consent to 12 years this was a time for people to focus on providing a lasting solution that eradicates poverty so that minor children do not engage in premature sex.

“We need to deal with the social constructs and thrive to eliminate the vice that is causing young girls to engage in sex.

‘We should aim to control the mind that wants to have sex,” she said.

Earlier this year, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care was forced to clarify  its position on the issue it was  misinterpreted for adavancing the call to lower the age of sexual consent to 12 years.

Recently nine civil society organisations working with adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), publicly called for the removal of age restrictions on access to reproductive health services.

The CSOs included COMPASS, YAZ, ZYT, SafAIDS, PITCH, SAT, Rutgers and ACT – in a full-page advert lobbied for the review of current legal and policy provisions limiting access to reproductive health services by adolescents.

However, Masarira reminded those propagating such a move were allowing the deparenting of children a through the destruction of the family unit by adopting Eurocentric views.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), sexual and reproductive health rights “encompass efforts to eliminate preventable maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptive services, and to address sexually transmitted infections (STI) and cervical cancer, violence against women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health is essential not only to achieve sustainable development but also to ensure that this new framework speaks to the needs and aspirations of people around the world and leads to realisation of their health and human rights.”

 

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