Unsafe abortions in Kenya leading to the deaths of thousands of women


Abortion stigma in Kenya is still rife and unsafe abortions are a major contributor to maternal deaths. 

A Sowetan Live report noted the deaths of thousands of Kenyan women due to “backstreet abortions”. Pregnancy termination in Kenya is still highly stigmatised. Women choose an ‘easy’ route over an official one due to fear of condemnation. 

Kenya abortion rules are governed by its 2010 constitution, and it states: “Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.”

Also Read: Termination of pregnancy in South Africa

Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR) regional head for Africa, Evelyne Opondo, says that unsafe abortions are led by untrained medical personnel and their facilities are unregulated. Thus the inevitable deaths of thousands of women whose lives would have been saved if the option was openly available to them. 

“They are afraid of seeking safe and legal abortion for fear of prosecution even in situations where terminated pregnancy is the result of rape,” said Opondo. 

According to Timeslive, Kenyan officials did not respond at the time comment was requested. 

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