Standards Are Not Enough: Policy Implementation Remains Central
August 22, 2019
By Melvine P. Ouyo
In 2013, Kenya’s Ministry of Health made the devastating decision to withdraw the Standards and Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion. This caused a huge influx in untrained back street abortions, immense suffering, and the loss of countless lives. After six years of irreversible damage from this decision, Kenya’s High Court issued a clear ruling this summer: the government had violated the rights of Kenyan women and girls by withdrawing the Standards and Guidelines. It was a revolutionary moment for Kenyan communities.
The worldwide movement to give women freedom to choices first culminated at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. The conference brought diverse views of human rights, population, sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and sustainable development. It marked a global consensus that placed human dignity and human rights—including the right to plan a family—at the heart of development.