Medics’ attitude and stigma still a barrier to safe abortion
Law permits abortion in cases where mother's health is at risk
by Daniel Otieno
07 November 2019
The Constitution of Kenya permits abortion if in the opinion of a trained health care provider, the life of the woman is in danger or if a written law permits it. A written law here being any legislation passed by Parliament that permits termination of a pregnancy.
However, despite the Constitution being in place, many women still undergo unsafe abortion including going for backstreet methods and untrained midwives. The attitudes of health workers that are backed by religious values, the stigma associated with an unintended pregnancy, limited conversations between parents and adolescents, a lack of life skills education in schools and limited allocations to improving maternal health contribute to cases of unsafe abortion.
WHO guidelines on abortion will reduce maternal deaths
by Daniel Otieno
25 October 2019
In 1967, the World Health Organization highlighted unsafe abortion as a health issue affecting women.
However, it wasn’t until 1987 when the safe motherhood conference was held in Nairobi that the world understood unsafe abortion as a public health concern. At the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994, governments again identified unsafe abortion as a public health concern and pledged their commitment to reducing the need for abortion through expanded and improved family planning services.
Northern Ireland Is About to Reform Its Abortion Law – Now What?
If its government doesn't reconvene by October 21st, its draconian law will be tossed out the window. Activists are counting down the days.
by Mary McGill
18 October 2019
With just a few days to go until October 21st, it is almost certain that Northern Ireland’s draconian law against abortion will be reformed. The political situation in Northern Ireland is complex. The region’s devolved government has been suspended for over two years. For campaigners fighting for equal rights issues like abortion, this stalemate has been frustrating.
That is, until July of this year, when Westminster issued a ruling paving the way for the liberalisation of the region’s abortion legislation, provided Northern Ireland’s government does not reconvene before October 21st. Although there are fears that Boris Johnson will use abortion in Northern Ireland as a bargaining tactic in Brexit negotiations, at this late stage reform is unlikely to be derailed
NI abortion: Guidelines issued ahead of 21 October deadline
8 October 2019
The government has published guidance for healthcare professionals on abortion law in Northern Ireland.
The new guidelines cover the period from 22 October to 31 March 2020.
They set out what will happen following changes to the law after 21 October, if the NI Executive is not restored.
Cultural abortion: The unspoken cruelty destroying girls' lives
She was warned that she couldn’t get pregnant before she is wed as it was a shame to her family and her taboo.
by Michelle Dibo
06 October 2019
Eddah looks much older than her actual age of 17. She is admitted at the Maralal Referral Hospital for the 17th time.
It is funny that her age and the number of times she has been admitted at the hospital due to miscarriages is the same. She does not seem to recognise this irony when I speak with her.
“I just want to have a child,” she tells me. Her voice so sad you can hear the melancholic backdrop if you listen close enough.
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.
Abortion where mother's health is at risk is a right
Lack of access to safe legal abortion causes many women to resort to illegal, unsafe abortion.
by Betty Odallo, Lucy Minayo and Martin Onyango
20 July 2019
JMM was a 14-year-old schoolgirl, living in rural Kisii when sometime in 2014, she was forced to have sexual intercourse. Due to a lack of information on how to respond to the situation, or whom to approach, she was not able to receive immediate post-rape care, including emergency contraception.
Two months later, JMM discovered she was pregnant. Fearing blame and rejection from her family, she confided in a friend who took her to an untrained person who performed an unsafe abortion on her.
Abortion stigma denies survivors speedy treatment
Medical staff fear in the event that the woman succumbs to illness, the health practitioners will be arrested
by Daniel Otieno, Star Blogs
17 July 2019
Cultures that do not allow pregnancy before marriage and fear by health workers to attend to survivors of unsafe abortion cause a delay in providing post-abortion care hence increasing abortion-related deaths.
At the facilities, medical personnel will not attend to women who had attempted procuring abortion as they fear that in the event that the woman succumbs to illness, the health practitioners will be arrested.
Guidelines can stop unnecessary abortion deaths
Unsafe abortions could be one of the main causes of maternal mortality in Kenya.
By GEORGE MORARA
July 11, 2019
In April 2012, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights released a report on the status of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in Kenya. This was the result of a public inquiry following a complaint by the Federation of Women Lawyers and the Centre for Reproductive Rights that, despite having in place a progressive legal and policy framework, women and girls still face sexual and reproductive health violations.
The KNCHR cited several barriers that impede access to quality sexual and reproductive health services — including unavailability of abortion and post-abortion services, lack of accurate and comprehensive information and high cost of services.
Doctors can lead case to change Northern Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion laws
BMJ 2019; 365
Published 28 June 2019
The trusted voices of doctors and medical staff are the key to changing abortion laws to give women in Northern Ireland choice, according to a panel of experts.
The panel—which met in Belfast on 23 June to discuss access to safe abortions—shared their experiences of caring for women and seeing the impact of restrictive abortion laws.