The Center wins a major victory for abortion rights in Africa
In a groundbreaking decision, the High Court of Kenya ruled that the Ministry of Health’s 2014 withdrawal of the “Standards and Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion in Kenya” (Standards & Guidelines), and its subsequent ban on abortion trainings for health care professionals, were arbitrary and unlawful. The Standards & Guidelines was an important policy document that guided health care providers on when and how they could provide safe and legal abortion and post-abortion services.
With this ruling, the five-judge bench has resoundingly reaffirmed the constitutional protections for legal abortions in Kenya when the life and health of the pregnant woman is threatened, including for survivors of sexual violence, or in cases of emergency.
Anti-abortion billboards come down in Kenya, but the debate over legalization continues
May 9, 2019
NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) — Thirteen billboards with provocative anti-abortion messages have been pulled down, ending a three-month campaign by a local church that divided and scandalized the Kenyan capital.
“They have brought down all of them. I am very concerned,” said Apostle Kathy Kageni-Oganga, the pastor of the Sozo Church of God, a Pentecostal church that sponsored the campaign. “There have been billboards advertising cigarettes, alcohol and others on gay issues. I don’t know why they targeted ours.”
The action has triggered a heated debate between abortion-rights and anti-abortion groups in the East African country, where the procedure is mostly illegal and the faiths strongly oppose any attempts to legalize it.
Standing up Against Abortion Opposition in Nairobi
The Center for Reproductive Rights and a dozen ally organizations take a petition to the government demanding anti-abortion billboards come down
04.25.19 - Making a strong stand against heightened organized anti-abortion activities in Nairobi, the Center for Reproductive Rights joined Kenyan women’s rights organizations and activists on April 24 in delivering a petition with over 500 signatures to the Nairobi County government. We demanded that Kenyan authorities remove the inflammatory and misleading anti-abortion billboards that have recently been put up around the city.
Anti-abortion billboards fuel stigma in Kenya, say women's rights groups
Apr 24, 2019
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women’s rights groups on Wednesday called on Kenyan authorities to remove anti-abortion billboards across the capital saying they were inaccurate and fuelling stigma in the east African nation, where thousands die from backstreet abortions each year.
Sponsored by the Nairobi-based Sozo Church of God, 13 billboards and posters near traffic lights and on electricity poles along Nairobi’s main roads state “Abortion is Murder!” or “Shut down abortion clinics!” under a picture of a fetus.
Safe Access to Abortion Crucial to Reducing Maternal Mortality in Kenya
First Lady Kenyatta’s “Beyond Zero” Campaign Ignores Key Issue
March 14, 2019
Agnes Odhiambo, Senior Researcher, Women's Rights Division
Five years ago, Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, launched the “Beyond Zero” campaign to eradicate preventable maternal and child mortality in Kenya. The initiative has drawn support and criticism in equal measure from Kenyans, and it has earned this criticism by ignoring a crucial aspect of women’s health – access to safe abortion.
A charity half marathon last weekend to mobilize resources for the campaign was met with wide-ranging criticism from Kenyans. Activists infiltrated part of the run to stage an anti-corruption protest, arguing that corruption and government failure to prosecute officials implicated in these crimes are the main factors behind Kenya’s failing health sector. Other critics say that the first lady’s campaign is diverting much-needed resources from the public health system.
Ambiguity in abortion guidelines causing death of women and girls
Monday March 11 2019
By EVELYNE OPONDO
The International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made towards gender equality — and we must as well consider the work that still needs to be done to ensure women and girls can participate with dignity as equal members of society.
Improving maternal health outcomes is an integral component in achieving gender equality. While the maternal mortality rate has declined in Kenya, the risk of women dying from pregnancy complications remains high.
Kenyan activist's death in botched abortion spotlights 'killer' backstreet clinics
February 15, 2019
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The death of a Kenyan activist due a botched abortion spotlights how thousands of pregnant women and girls are being driven by social stigma and restrictive policies to lose their lives in backstreet clinics, human rights campaigners said on Friday.
Caroline Mwatha disappeared on Feb. 6 in Dandora, a poor neighborhood in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, where she lived and campaigned against the abusive treatment of people in police custody, raising alarm among rights groups.
Abortion: Rights group sues ministry, officials over Marie Stopes ban
Dec. 01, 2018
By LILLIAN MUTAVI
The Centre for Reproductive Rights on Friday sued the Ministry of Health and other state officials over the recent ban on Marie Stopes over safe abortions.
The lobby group filed a suit against the CS for Health, the Director of Medical Services, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, the Kenya Film and Classification Board and its CEO Ezekiel Mutua.
Campaigners in Kenya challenge Marie Stopes abortion ban in court
30 November 2018
By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation
NAIROBI - A human rights group on Friday challenged the Kenyan government in court over banning international charity Marie Stopes from providing abortion services, saying the move would drive thousands of women and girls to backstreet clinics.
Kenyan authorities directed Marie Stopes to suspend offering abortions and post-abortion care on Nov. 14, after complaints its media campaign was promoting the termination of unwanted pregnancies - a charge the charity denies.
Kenya's high court to decide on safe abortion as teenager dies
July 12, 2018
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Kenya’s high court is to decide if the government is responsible for the death of a teenager from a botched backstreet abortion, campaigners said on Thursday, in a case which could see safer abortions for thousands of women in the east African nation.
The girl - known by her initials JMM to protect her identity - was raped in 2014 at the age of 15. On discovering she was pregnant, she had a backstreet abortion that left her with injuries which eventually led to her death last month.