22 SEPTEMBER 2022
Inter Press Service
By Stephanie Musho and Ritah Anindo Obonyo
Nairobi — Fatuma is a 24 year old girl from Korogocho, an informal settlement
in Nairobi. She died in December 2021, from complications arising from an
unsafe abortion. Her friend and a few of her neighbors found her bleeding
profusely and unable to move. They rushed her to the hospital. Unfortunately,
she died before she could see the doctor.
Unfortunately, Fatuma's story is common for girls and women in Kenya. In fact,
at least 7 of them die every day from complications arising from unsafe
abortion. Worse still, is that with current trends - where 700 girls between
the ages of 10 and 19 are getting pregnant daily; the harrowing statistics on
abortions are likely to be worse. If Fatuma knew where she could access safe
abortion services, she would not have died.
BY STEPHANIE MUSHO
SEPTEMBER 7, 2022
For too long, sexual and reproductive rights in Kenya have operated in a vacuum. Despite the constitution providing for the “highest attainable standard” of reproductive health, legislators have failed to enact any legislation on the issue, shooting down a bill in 2014 and another in 2019. The outgoing administration of Uhuru Kenyatta has opposed the delivery of sex education and contraception to adolescent and failed to support teenage mothers.
This has contributed to several worrying statistics. Kenya has the world’s third highest teenage pregnancy rate. Nearly 100 girls in the country contract HIV each week. Over 2,600 women and girls die annually from complications arising from unsafe abortion.
7 SEPTEMBER 2022
By Stephanie Musho
Kenya's sexual health rights are beholden to US decisionmakers. New legislators must take back control.
For too long, sexual and reproductive rights in Kenya have operated in a vacuum. Despite the constitution providing for the "highest attainable standard" of reproductive health, legislators have failed to enact any legislation on the issue, shooting down a bill in 2014 and another in 2019. The outgoing administration of Uhuru Kenyatta has opposed the delivery of sex education and contraception to adolescent and failed to support teenage mothers.
The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the longstanding abortion ruling will have a chilling effect on reproductive healthcare provision in low income and middle income countries.
BMJ 2022; 378
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1844 (Published 11 August 2022)
Sally Howard, freelance journalist1, Geetanjali Krishna, freelance journalist
In 2018 a reproductive health organisation in Kenya found that anti-abortion advocates had put the address of its reproductive rights helpline on social media. “It was a veiled threat,” its programme manager, Mina Mwangi, tells The BMJ. “They wanted us to know that they knew how to get us.”
On 24 June 2022 the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected women’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.1 Sexual and reproductive health rights organisations across the world, including Mwangi’s, feared the effects of the overturning in terms of funding and potential attacks. “We are heightening our security because of how emboldened the opposition are,” Mwangi says, adding that she dreads a potential withdrawal of funds from US non-governmental organisations: her organisation receives over 50% of its funding from US donors.
The US policies on abortion, whether we like it or not, significantly influence how seriously governments around the world take the issue of unsafe abortions.
19 May 2022
A leaked draft of a United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that gave women the constitutional right to abortion, recently put abortion rights once again on the global agenda.
As a human rights lawyer in Kenya, I too am watching the developments in Washington, DC with worry. This is not only because I feel for American women being forced to fight for their right to bodily autonomy, but also because case law in commonwealth jurisdictions such as Kenya is sometimes influenced by decisions taken in US courtrooms.
As some European countries rolled out ‘telemed’ abortion, others shut down access completely.
by Sarah Hurtes and Daniel Boffey
Wed 21 Apr 2021
Kay, 34, realised her period was late a month into Britain’s lockdown. The coronavirus death count was spiralling across the country. Covid-19 was putting the NHS under unprecedented strain and Boris Johnson had given the British people what he described as “a very simple instruction” in an address to the nation from Downing Street: “You must stay at home.”
A worrying, unsettling time, and Kay, a mother of a six-year-old girl, needed to get hold of a pregnancy test kit. She went online and, two days later, took delivery of the test, learning of a positive result via two pink lines. It was the news she had dreaded.
Tagged “the abortion bill”, the Reproductive Healthcare bill of 2019 is, in fact a comprehensive document
Written by Laila Le Guen
Posted 30 March 2021
Reproductive rights in Kenya is an intimate and emotive topic where hard lines have been drawn on both sides. Pro- and anti-abortion campaigners keep cycling through episodes of heightened attention when high-profile cases arise and passions continue to run high. Meanwhile, the country registers numbers of unsafe abortions that are among the highest in Africa. Maternal mortality is high at about 6,000 deaths per year, 17 per cent of them from complications of unsafe abortion.
Limited legal recourse to access termination of pregnancy is a potential compromise that remains contested, leaving the two camps with a status quo that seems hard to shake off. What's at stake on both ends of this fiercely debated issue?
After condemning abortion reform as an imposition of “foreign cultures”, a religious group in Malawi took thousands of dollars in foreign cash
30 March 2021
A Catholic group in Malawi used money from the US to support its campaign against a bill to allow legal abortion in cases of rape – after condemning proposed reforms as an imposition of “foreign cultures”.
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), a local assembly of Catholic bishops, received a $30,000 grant from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2019 for “pastoral animation and advocacy of members of parliament and the laity in political leadership”.
The pro-choice Biden administration is very unlikely to support the declaration, signed just two weeks before the 2020 US elections.
25 January 2021
The anti-abortion Geneva Consensus Declaration, signed two weeks before the 2020 presidential elections, brings together some of the most authoritarian and anti-women regimes in the world – reflecting who President Trump counted as his international allies by the end of his four-year reign.
The declaration claims that “there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of states to finance or facilitate abortion”. It declares that the ‘traditional family’ – meaning a married, heterosexual couple and their biological children – is the “fundamental group unit of society”, and each country has “the sovereign right” to make their own laws on abortion.
Issued on: 17/10/2020
Laura Angela Bagnetto
Malawi’s members of parliament are due to review a pregnancy termination bill before they take a recess on 23 October, a move that has stirred controversy between lawmakers as well as Malawians.
“We Malawians hide a lot behind the argument that we are a God-fearing nation; we hide behind that in order to run away from the real issue,” says Beatrice Mateyo, executive director for the Coalition for the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Lilongwe.