Ugandan archbishop restates church’s support for family planning

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The Archbishop of Uganda has reaffirmed his church’s support for family planning and contraception urging women to be “very careful” to avoid pregnancy during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

On 14 April 2020 the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba told the congregation of All Saints Cathedral in Kampala said he was “really concerned [that] after [this] coronavirus situation we will have many, many women who will be pregnant. Actually we need to be careful. I want to call upon you women don’t forget to use your contraceptives because we don’t want you to have unwanted pregnancies.”

The President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni on 18 March 2020 closed the country’s borders to travel to or from countries affected with the virus for 32 days, while schools and public gatherings were banned. The lockdown was partially lifted on 5 May 2020.

Archbishop Kaziimba told his on-line congregation that women should take charge of their bodies.  “These guys are there; they are eating and doing things.. Be careful because these men they don’t care. You women be careful.”

The Guardian newspaper of London reported the archbishop’s statement as having changed the Anglican Church’s teaching, writing: “The new archbishop of Uganda has become the first primate of the country’s Anglican church to embrace the use of modern contraceptives after urging women to be ‘very careful’ to avoid getting pregnant during the Covid-19 lockdown.”

However, a spokesman for the Church of Uganda tells Anglican Ink the archbishop “did not change the church’s teaching on contraception.”

In 2010 the Uganda House of Bishops adopted a resolution endorsing family planning, including contraception, resolving to: “Educate our followers on the dangers of producing too early, too late, too many and too often,” and to “Encourage communities to increase uptake of modern family planning methods to ensure healthy families.”

The spokesman added “Archbishop Kaziimba has been a long-time advocate for family planning and he even included it in his Charge at his enthronement” as ninth primate and archbishop of Uganda in March. He further stated at his installation service that abortion was not a form of birth control and the Church of Uganda was unalterably opposed to that practice.