Archbishop of Uganda Encourages Women to Use Birth Control During COVID-19 Lockdown
The Archbishop of Uganda is encouraging women to use contraception during the coronavirus pandemic. He says he’s worried about the risks for pregnant women during the crisis and wants them to avoid pregnancy during the lockdown.
About 30% of women in the country use some form of contraception. “I am really concerned that after the coronavirus situation we will have many, many pregnant women,” said Archbishop Stephen Kazimba Mugalu in a televised message last Sunday. He warned women to take the initiative in this issue because he didn’t believe men would be responsible.
Advocacy and Communications Manager at Reproductive Health Uganda welcomed Archbishop Kazimba’s stance on this issue. “We are happy the church of Uganda stand on certain areas of reproductive health including the use of contraceptives.”
But there are others calling out Kazimba’s history of advocating against reproductive rights. “Archbishop Kazimba attacked abortion and LGBTQ Ugandans during his first chance to address the country as Archbishop, fueling hate and stigmatizing women for seeking essential health services such as abortion, which is extremely troubling,” said Asia Russell, executive director of the Health Global Access Project. She added, “His latest comment doesn’t change that.”
She noted that before the coronavirus outbreak, women in Uganda had trouble accessing “safe, quality, comprehensive sexual and reproductive services.”
Archbishop Kizamba also has opposition from the religious community with Archbishop of the Gulu Archdiocese John Baptist Odama calling Kizamba’s contraception message immoral. “The stand of the Catholic Church is clear. No artificial use of contraception. We don’t support any form of family planning methods.”
The lockdown in Uganda has been extended for three more weeks with support from civilians to make pregnant women exempt from the orders to receive proper care and medical treatment.
The Realist Woman’s take:
I don’t recall any Christian religious leader supporting any form of birth control. This is an unprecedented statement in an unprecedented time.
I don’t think Archbishop Kazimba spoke from a true wish to see women using birth control. I think he spoke from the fear and possibility of having hundreds of pregnant women who, through sex with their partners, contracted the virus.
I personally believe all women should have access to quality birth control always, not just during a global pandemic. The Archbishop should have addressed the barriers women have faced trying to access quality reproductive care before the pandemic and his plans to provide that care given his request.
It’s an progressive move made by the Archbishop of Uganda