- We need to understand that a woman who does not mean to carry a pregnancy to term will terminate it and we would rather the method be safe.
- If we come out to condemn abortion, therefore, forcing a woman to be a mother, we open up another whole chapter of child abuse and neglect.
Abortion is a topic that has been very sensitive over the years. When people are asked about their opinion, they throw the ‘abortion is a crime’ statement with no further room for debate.
Dozens of women access abortion and post-abortion services yearly whether safe or unsafe. Abortion is protected by the constitution under Article 26 (4).
On Monday June 5, the High Court of Kenya heard petition 428 of 2018. The petition was brought against the Ministry of Health, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board and Kenya Film and Classification Board.
In 2018 after running a radio and online campaign to raise awareness about unsafe abortion, Marie Stopes Kenya was banned from providing sexual and reproductive health information and offering safe abortion care despite the constitution allowing it under certain conditions.
Seeking to terminate a pregnancy is not an easy decision on women and young girls. But they should be able to see these services in the safest way possible and not in quack facilities.
The decision of KMPDB and KFCB is clearly undermining women’s constitutional right by denying women, including rape survivors and sexual violence survivors’ access to safe, legal abortion as permitted by law.
We all know unsafe abortion is among the leading causes of maternal deaths in Kenya. If a girl accessed safe abortion services, we would save one life and educate to prevent another unwanted pregnancy.
Women have had a contraceptive method that have failed while others have been forced to have unprotected sex by their partners leading to a pregnancy they do not wish to keep.
It is time we accept that our teenagers are having sex and we need to give them information on how to do it safely or we will have to deal with the consequences of going for backstreet abortion.
The cost of treating unsafe abortion is high. A total of 330 women and girls are hospitalised every day due to unsafe abortion complications.
Parents with daughters understand that the bigger burden of unsafe sex falls on their daughters because females are the ones that will leave school to take care of a child or will have to go for an abortion.
However, if this is not done in the right way, it can lead to death. We should address the rising morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion in Kenya.
Marie Stopes Kenya provides sexual reproductive health information including modern contraception, sexual health counselling, cancer screening and treatment, comprehensive post abortion care and gynaecological checkup, among others.
Young girls lack of information on safe sex (because we want to assume they are abstaining) has led to many getting unwanted pregnancies, which then leads to seeking abortion services. And since there is a lot of stigma that comes with abortion, they will use methods such as drinking bleach which may lead to death.
The cost of treating unsafe abortion is high. Survivors suffer due to financial constraints. Why shouldn’t we help our young girls access safe procedures?
Marie Stopes Kenya is also among one of the many organisations that provide sexual and reproductive health services. This has led to decrease in maternal deaths and injuries over the years. So, when the KMPDB and KFCB ban such organisations from providing information on sexual reproductive health, we are basically telling our girls and women that you are on your own.
Emergency treatment should also be available for post abortion care according to Article 43(2) which provides that a person shall not be denied emergency medical treatment.
We need to understand that a woman who does not mean to carry a pregnancy to term will terminate it and we would rather the method be safe. If we come out to condemn abortion, therefore, forcing a woman to be a mother, we open up another whole chapter of child abuse and neglect, mental health issues etc.
Let us provide women with information and services they need to ensure a wholesome living.
Sexual and reproductive health advocate at Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa