New Abortion Law in Kenya

New Abortion Law in Kenya

Opinion: Stop harassment of women and girls seeking abortions, 02.04.22 Although Kenya has gradually liberalized its abortion laws in recent years, campaigners fear the repeal of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court does not roll back their progress. But they are determined to continue their fight and take inspiration from Latin America, where three countries expanded abortion rights last year. Significantly, the Court confirmed that the Kenyan government has an obligation to ensure the availability of trained health care providers, essential medicines, and equipment for the provision of abortions and follow-up care in all public health facilities in the country. The Kenyan Constitution guarantees the right of women and girls to access abortion services if, in the opinion of a health professional, the pregnancy threatens the life and health of the pregnant person. In order to implement this constitutional provision, the Ministry of Health issued in 2012 a standard and guidelines on the prevention and management of unwanted pregnancies and the practice of abortion. The directive also sets standards for screening, monitoring and evaluation of comprehensive abortion care in Kenya. Saoyo, the Kenyan lawyer, said she and other lawyers would continue to fight for abortion rights. “There is still room to fight back as a movement,” she said. “Now is the time for Africa and Latin America to lead the way.” Since delay in seeking treatment after safe or unsafe abortion is a cause of higher postabortion complications, efforts have been made in Kenya to improve access to family planning and postabortion follow-up. [16] Post-abortion care usually refers to emergency medical treatment, but also involves family planning for the patient. [13] In combination, these services include counselling, reproductive health education, and contraceptive distribution.

[13] A proposed increase in family planning in Kenya could also curb repeat abortions for some women. [22] This is what unsafe abortion can look like in Kenya, a traditionally conservative country that has long restricted access to reproductive care. Many women and girls resort to desperate measures – using knitting needles, drinking bleach, taking unidentified pills or taking traditional herbs – to end their pregnancies. The publication of these statistics in 2018[33] and the death of activist Caroline Mwatha in February 2019 after an unsafe abortion[34] had brought the abortion debate to the forefront in 2019. Article 26 of the 2010 Constitution and its inclusion in the authorization of abortion with a view to maternal health has prompted the public sector to offer better access to abortion. [19] In this respect, many providers are not sufficiently trained or equipped to provide secure services due to a lack of specificities in secure constitution and procedures. [20] Although the Constitution allows abortion in certain circumstances, not all abortions are performed safely, and due to other cultural implications such as stigma, women still seek and use potentially lethal methods to obtain abortions. [13] The Malindi Supreme Court also ordered parliament to enact an abortion law and policy framework consistent with the Kenyan Constitution. In addition, the Court confirmed that communications between a patient and the health care provider are confidential, which is guaranteed and protected by the Constitution and other enabling legislation, unless the disclosure is authorized by the patient or is in the public interest in accordance with constitutional restrictions. Abortion is prohibited in Kenya except in certain circumstances, including danger to the life and health of the pregnant woman and rape. [1] [2] [3] Unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of death and health complications among women in Kenya. [4] [5] In 2019, a landmark court decision granted victims of sexual violence the right to abortion.

In another case this year, a judge found abortion care a fundamental constitutional right — specifically citing key points from Roe — but the decision is being challenged. Kenya`s 2010 constitutional referendum, which introduced Article 26, expanded access to abortion by allowing it on maternal health grounds. [2] Prior to the 2010 referendum, the criminalization of abortion was common, particularly that of abortion providers. [6] A well-known trial in Kenya took place in 2004 in which three health workers were charged with murder after having abortions in the Republic of Nyamu and other cases. [6] Although access has been expanded by Article 26, debates on abortion in Kenya continue due to the lack of specificity of the rhetoric of the 2010 constitutional clause. [7] Many providers are reluctant to offer abortions because they are unsure whether they are protected by law and the Constitution, whether or not they offer safe abortion options. [7] Section 160. Provision of drugs or instruments to induce abortion. In recent years, conservatives have mobilized against any legalization of abortion for any reason in Kenya, and the issue is increasingly becoming a populist rallying point ahead of national elections in August.