Educating women on safe abortions is the right thing to do, a doctors network said yesterday barely hours after the Film Classification Board banned an advert by Marie Stopes.
Marie Stopes is running a campaign that seeks to educate young girls about safe abortion. The promotion runs on Radio Africa Group platforms.
But the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) said the advert is giving teenage girls an alternatives for unwanted pregnancies.
“It is better if women can be informed because the main problem is that there are so many unsafe abortions since the women do not know where to access the services,” Abortion Doctors Network chairman John Nyamu said.
He said the deaths can be reduced if women are aware of safe environments to conduct abortions. Abortion is illegal unless authorised by a doctor when the life of the mother is at risk.
A study by the Ministry of Health found that 48 per cent of those who sought post-abortion care after unsafe abortions were women aged 25 and below. Seventeen per cent were girls aged between 10-19.
“Once a woman has decided to terminate the pregnancy, she will do it whether in a safe environment or not. So knowing the safe abortion centres will help,” Nyamu said.
“Most of them procure abortions in unsafe places. Marie Stopes is just giving them guidelines, not telling them to terminate pregnancies.”
A national study on the magnitude of unsafe abortion estimates that 464,690 induced abortions occurred in Kenya in 2012.
An estimated 119,912 women received care for complications from unsafe abortions. Such complications included organ or systems failure and shock. A number of them led to deaths.
Marie Stopes’s director of marketing Christopher Wainaina said they have not received formal communication from KFCB on the ban of the advert.
“We only heard about it on social media yesterday [Tuesday],” Wainaina said. “We are not aware of any advert purporting to promote abortion among teenagers.”