Womens eNews: Kenya’s Abortion Ban Fires Constitutional Debate
By Zoe Alsop
“Earlier this month church leaders here threatened to mobilize their faithful against a draft of a national constitution if it included language allowing abortions under any circumstance.
The criminalization of abortion in Kenya, combined with the stigma and shortage of legal post-abortion care, leads to the deaths of hundreds or possibly thousands of women each year due to complications of unsafe abortions, the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights said in a report this month.
‘These deaths are a direct consequence of Kenya’s abortion law, one of the most restrictive in the world,’ the report’s authors wrote.
Kenyan women portrayed by the report described how they or their relatives or friends suffered illegal abortions from people who accepted small fees in exchange for procedures that used knitting needles, pipes, pens, bleach and malaria pills.
The report includes the story of a 14-year-old in the slum of Kibera who had sex with men for less than $2 after her widowed mother was hospitalized for two years. When she became pregnant she underwent an illegal abortion that led to a serious infection. She was too afraid to go to the hospital fearing, erroneously, that she could be jailed. She and her mother tried to treat her infection with topical disinfectant to no avail. She died last July.
Many young women from Kibera are arrested for having abortions, according to the center’s report, and few understand that post-abortion care is legal and public hospitals are supposed to provide the service without cost if the patient is unable to pay.” Read more at Women’s eNews >,