No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion In The US

One of the first things that the new US President Donald Trump has done since taking office is to execute a declaration that has barred subsequent U.S. federal funding for abortion and family planning for foreign NGOs. This followed a vote of 238 to 183 in the US House of Representatives to permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortion through The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act. In effect, this bars non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services or that lobby for abortion from receiving any monetary assistance from the U.S government. The order came a day after the 44th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade ruling which paved way for abortion-on-demand in the United States in 1973.

The US President has also nominated Neil Gorsuch, a conservative Justice with anti abortion leanings to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is known for believing that the Constitution should be interpreted exactly as the US Founding Fathers intended. While he hasn’t issued any major opinion or written directly about abortion during his time as a Federal Judge, Gorsuch is known for having a strong record of valuing and protecting life (as evidenced in his doctoral dissertation where he wrote that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable) and for protecting religious liberty. Certainly, Judge Gorsuch is considered conservative enough to make the pro abortionists fear a slow decay of the pro-choice movement and eventual overturn of Roe v Wade.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands has announced intentions to set up an international abortion fund in response to President Trump’s directive to restrict US funding to pro-abortion groups worldwide. Ms. Lillian Ploumen who is the Dutch Government’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation announced that she intends to set up the fund to finance projects relating to access to birth control, abortion and women’s education. She hopes that this international fund will be supported by businesses, social groups and governments to help mitigate any financial setbacks that would arise from President Trump’s Order.

Not surprisingly, President Trump’s move to defund the pro-abortion organizations has been met with a lot of outrage and resistance from pro-abortion organizations, activists and sections of mainstream media. Groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation are ideologically committed to the doctrine that abortion on demand must be universally available as a birth control method. These pro abortion groups receive a significant portion of funds meant for improving the lives of women around the world, which means that millions of dollars get diverted away from non abortion groups that also provide medical care and other services to women.

Pro-abortion groups have been spreading a fallacy that in order to be pro-women, you have to be pro-abortion. Recently, a series of marches were held in a number of cities with the aim of promoting women’s rights. But any honest observer would tell you that these marches were more about being pro-abortion than anything else. Being pro-life means wanting the well being of all women, whether they are born or still in the womb. The pro-life movement tells women that they have what it takes to do the hard and wonderful work of being a mother. Encouraging women to choose life for their babies is to celebrate the unique and inherent abilities of women. Being pro-life means that you believe that all life deserves protection, no matter how small, poor, unwanted or insignificant. To be pro-life is to defend the unborn, the widows, the disabled and the orphans. Being pro-life means building institutions that promote the flourishing of all human beings.

As stated by U.S. Representative Trent Franks from Arizona, "real question before us... is does abortion kill a little baby? If so, then abortion is the "greatest human genocide" in history.”

Abortion remains an ethical and moral wrong. Once abortion is universally accepted, no logical arguments will stop other forms of murder and other forms of human brutality.

We Defend The Right To Life


A Global Legal Advocacy Organization, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) has filed a case in the Kenyan High Court against the Attorney General, the Ministry of Health and the Director of Medical Services. The case was filed on behalf of The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenya, two community human rights mobilizers, an adolescent rape survivor (who is suffering from kidney failure and other health complications that arose from procuring an unsafe abortion) and on behalf of all Kenyan women of a reproductive age.

The group is lobbying for "access to safe and legal abortion" and argue that the Kenyan government is allowing thousands of women in Kenya to needlessly die or suffer severe complications every year due to unsafe backstreet abortions and should therefore be held accountable. They feel that these deaths and injuries can easily be avoided by legalizing abortion. The CRR is now seeking a declaration from the High Court to protect women's health and lives by restoring safe abortion.

The EACLJ has enjoined itself as an interested party in the suit because it holds the following position:

The Government of Kenya is NOT blocking "safe and legal abortion services". That terminology is not applicable under the Kenyan Constitution and the laws of the land. What happened to the adolescent rape survivor should not happen to any girl or woman of any age. However, suggesting that abortion will somehow "fix" or "treat" this grievous offence is a dangerous and fallacious argument. Rape is a crime against the victim and the society. It must be dealt with within the criminal justice system. Kenyans have and continue to advocate for the better treatment of victims by the Police. The respect and dignity of the victim must be preserved. Kenyans also want the Police to have better methods of collecting forensic evidence.

Backstreet abortion clinics mushroom because of misinformation being spread that abortion is okay, and that it is a 'right'. It is neither okay nor lawful to kill an unborn child.

In a very significant number of cases, it has been established that rape is perpetrated by persons known to the victim. This could be a family member, someone in an educational institution, or someone in the work environment. It should be pointed out that a breakdown in the natural family setup has led to serious societal degradation. For instance, the male child is no longer taking up his role of protecting the members of the family. This is the situation that really needs to be addressed.

Rape victims have suffered enough. They have been gravely injured physically and psychologically. What they need is understanding, counselling and strong support systems. They need to be encouraged and given support to either take care of the child, or give it up for adoption.

It is not right to exacerbate the situation by turning the victims into murderers. Making abortion easy and readily available does not take away the problem. It makes it worse. Many times, when someone goes through an abortion, there is a high chance they will do it again. What is not immediately made apparent is the psychological effect abortion has on women. According to a new study published by Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists. (link will be added), women who have abortions are 81% more likely to experience subsequent mental health problems. The greatest increases were seen in relation to suicidal behaviours and substance abuse.

The Kenya Constitution guarantees the right to life, while explicitly stating that life begins at conception. Provision is allowed in the legal framework for termination of a pregnancy if, in the opinion of a qualified medical practitioner, the life of either the mother or the unborn child is at risk. The State's obligation in all this should be to ensure that no one is deprived of their life without proper legal cause. We fight for both the mother AND the child.

President Obama Ignores Pro Choice Agenda In Kenya


The President of the United States Barrack Obama was in Kenya recently for an Official Visit and to open the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which was being held in Nairobi. Many companies, government institutions and civil societies took advantage of this opportunity to try and get the US President to address various issues of concern to them. Pro-Choice groups who campaign for the legalization of abortion were among these. They brought forward a plea put together by 71 rights organizations asking President Obama to correct what they referred to as a "longstanding misinterpretation of the Helms Amendment". They basically want the U.S. Foreign Assistance Programs to be able to provide abortion for women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest, and in case a woman faces a life threatening pregnancy.

The Helms Amendment is a U.S legislation enacted in 1973 which states that 'No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortion.' The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – which is the United States Government Agency responsible for administering civilian foreign aid - places a high priority on preventing abortions. They do this by encouraging family planning, saving the lives of women who suffer complications arising from unsafe abortions and linking those women to places that offer voluntary family planning and other reproductive health services.

However, in this letter to President Obama, the 71 Organizations are advocating for the amendment of the "Helms Amendment" law so that they can directly finance abortions in Kenya. They speak of promoting 'maternal health' and 'comprehensive family planning' but what they are really doing is promoting abortion. Article 26 of Kenya's Constitution explains that abortion is illegal and clearly states that every person has a right to life, with a further explanation that life begins at conception. According to the letter to President Obama, the pro-abortion groups claim that '...Obama's administration continues to implement this law (Helms Amendment) as a complete ban on all abortion-related services, even in the case of rape, incest, or when a pregnancy threatens the life of the woman.' These groups would like Kenyan women to abort innocent children just because they feel that they were not conceived in the right way. They further claim in the letter that the '...issue is urgent because women are dying.' It should be noted that Abortion as a cause of death can be stopped simply by choosing life! If women were encouraged to choose life, they would save both their lives and the lives of the innocent babies they are carrying.

President Barrack Obama rightly ignored the letter during his visit and instead focused on other important matters affecting women here such as a promotion of their dignity and an enhancement of their presence in society. He emphasized that women should not be treated as second-class citizens and condemned the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), a significant stand to take because there are still some communities that consider this to be a rite of passage.

If these groups really wanted to help women in Kenya and Africa as a whole, then they would advocate for abstinence, especially among young people still in schools, while also educating women on how to stay healthy during their pregnancy terms. However, a closer look at their agenda (click here) reveals that they might have other plans for the developing countries such as population control.
We believe that every child has the right to live despite the circumstances they were conceived in. Every conceived child is an innocent being with unlimited potential that could grow up to have a positive impact on the world. They deserve a chance at life and no one has the right to take that away from them.

The Joys of Choosing Life


While the debate on abortion continues to evoke divided views in Kenya, It is of importance to revisit the gains of motherhood vis-à-vis the risks that may be brought about by abortion.

Whereas motherhood offers a broad spectrum of benefits, the following are fundamental medical pros that have been concluded through years of medical research and study:

Research has shown that women who have no children or who give birth after the age of thirty years face a greater risk of breast cancer than women who give birth before this age. This is because pregnancy reduces the time a woman gets exposed to certain hormones the ovary produces during the menstrual cycle. Prolonged lifetime exposure of the breast tissue, which is very sensitive, to these hormones increases the risk of breast cancer. In addition pregnancy changes breast cells, causing them to become fully mature and less susceptible to cancer-causing changes. An earlier pregnancy means a smaller window of time in which your breast cells are immature and vulnerable. Further, each year of breastfeeding during a woman's lifetime cuts her breast cancer risk by 4 percent, according to findings cited in a 2010 issue of Journal of Perinatology.

Pregnancy has been seen to reduce the risks of endometriosis and endometrial cancer. Endometriosis occurs when the cells lining of the uterus (endometrium) grow outside the womb, occasioning pain, irregular bleeding, and even infertility in some women. Further research shows giving birth between the age of thirty and forty may protect against endometrial cancer. Having a baby has been deemed to be the beginning of the road to recovery by gynecologists and endocrinologists for conditions attributed to be "female disorders" such as uterine fibroids, tumours and polycystic ovaries.

Studies have also shown that hormonal changes right after birth may help the mother's brain to grow bigger. Motherhood has also proved to be a motivation that makes women make healthier and informed choices.

On the other hand, we can contrast the above benefits with the dangers occasioned by abortion. After an abortion, the main risk is infection in the womb, which is usually caused by failing to completely remove all of the foetus and associated tissue. If such an infection is untreated, it could translate to a more severe infection of the woman's reproductive organs, and as a result cause infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

Further studies indicate that women with a history of one abortion face a 2.3 times higher risk of having cervical cancer, compared to women with no history of abortion. Women with two or more abortions face a 4.92 relative risk. Similar elevated risks of subsequent ovarian and liver cancer have also been linked to single and multiple abortions. These increased risks may be linked to the unnatural disruption of the hormonal changes which accompany pregnancy and untreated cervical damage or to increased stress and the negative impact of stress on the immune system .

Some abortion patients suffer from perforation of their uterus, which may result in complications in later pregnancies.
A 1997 government funded study in Finland found that women who abort are approximately four times more likely to die in the following year than women who carry their pregnancies to term. In addition, women who carry to term are only half as likely to die as women who were not pregnant .
Abortion may also result in placenta previa, an abnormal development of the placenta due to uterine damage which increases the risk of foetal malformation, perinatal death, and excessive bleeding during labor in subsequent pregnancies.
Prior induced abortion increases the risk of premature delivery and also increases the risk of delayed delivery. Pre-term delivery increases the risk of neonatal death and handicaps.
Abortion is associated with cervical and uterine damage which may increase the risk of premature delivery, complications of labor and abnormal development of the placenta in later pregnancies. These reproductive complications are the leading causes of handicaps among newborns.

Endometritis is a post-abortion risk for all women, but especially for teenagers, who are 2.5 times more likely than women 20-29 to acquire endometritis following abortion.
Teenagers, who account for about 30 percent of all abortions, are also at much high risk of suffering many abortion related complications. This is true of both immediate complications, and of long-term reproductive damage.

Besides the medical cons of abortion, other psychological and behavioral changes include:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Suicide attempts
  • Eating disorders
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Divorce and chronic relationship problems
  • A risk of repeat Abortions.

In conclusion, abortion can never be a solution as it promotes a culture that makes human life disposable. Allowing abortion conflicts the unalienable right to life that is guaranteed under the Constitution of Kenya, 2010,(Article 26(1)) and under various international Conventions and Treaties (e.g. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Pregnancy Comes with the responsibility of taking care of the baby and in the unfortunate cases where the mother is unable to take care of the baby, other prolife alternatives such as adoption and foster care can be explored instead of killing the unborn.



Babies Surviving Abortion Have a Right to Life


The Right to Life is universal and every human being is entitled to it.
This is according to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; which states, '...everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of persons.'
The argument as to when life begins has been and still continues, especially between the pro-life and pro-choice groups.
The pro-life group believe that life begins at conception, while the pro-choice insist that life begins at birth.
To this end, many women, who may have unfortunately chosen to procure an abortion or are contemplating to have one, are oblivious of the fact that the baby they are carrying feels pain as early as at eight weeks old. According to scientific research, the foetus is already responsive at that stage as it has physical structures necessary to experience pain; when inflicted during abortion.
There is evidence that babies have survived after failed abortions. Once medical care is given they stand a chance to live.
This is proof that life indeed begins at conception and not only when a baby is born, and hence it is mandatory for these human beings to be allowed to enjoy their right to life.
This is a call to all doctors that when a baby survives an abortion, they are entitled to medical care to help save their lives and aid their recovery to the fullest, instead of neglect.

Click HERE for a Written Statement submitted by the European Centre for Law and Justice to the 25th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations. 

Abortion and Population Control in Africa


This is a story that has been repeated over and over in this country and beyond. A young girl gets pregnant at an untimely moment and is then forced to seek a solution to the 'problem'... most of the time, an unlawful and dangerous one. For Caroline Wanja Wanyaga, a 19-year-old high school student in her third year, an abortion seemed the only avenue she had to keep open the possibility of pursuing a university degree. The Tigithi Secondary school student was reported dead after procuring an abortion at Matanya sub-location in Laikipia County. She met her demise when efforts to ferry her to the nearest clinic became futile. According to the area assistant chief, Patrick Mathenge, the young girl died after aborting twins.

In light of the increasing number of such cases, the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation on the 11th of July 2012 hosted the London Summit on Family Planning that launched an initiative to give more than 120 million women worldwide access to voluntary family planning methods by the year 2020. The use of proper family planning methods has been suggested as a means of curbing abortion... as well as a means of controlling the population. It was at this international summit that the Prime Ministers of Ethiopia and Rwanda urged all African Leaders to increase funding for contraceptive services if they wanted to reduce poverty and hunger. During the summit, the world reflected on the ever-increasing population and how it was putting pressure on resources as well as impacting negatively on the quality of life. It was seen that in order to control the increase in population, it was important that both men and women have access to family planning methods as well as being given sufficient information about their use and side effects.

Few governments have population control policies and or national family planning programs. These countries include Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco and Tunisia. Currently, most governments of African countries for the greater part either support family planning programs or allow such efforts exist under private auspices. Only the governments of Cameroon, Madagascar and Malawi have stated explicitly that they want to encourage population growth. From surveys done the East Africa, the ideal family size was between 5 and 6 children. In Ghana and Nigeria, the ideal size was 7 or more. In general, the ideal family size in Africa is between 6 and 8 children. As time has gone by however, the influence of urbanization and western education has reduced the ideal family size to be between 4 and 6 children.

With regards to modern contraceptive methods, the most knowledgeable group is the urban elite. Below that, the knowledge level tends to be very low. As such, there is very little contraceptive practice in Africa. For example, despite national family planning programs in Uganda, the fertility rates remain high. The country's fertility rate is estimated at 6.7 children, one of the highest in the world, but in most of its villages... the fertility rate can be as high as 10. It is fair to say that given the right conditions and policies, a country can support more people and reduce the number of people living in absolute poverty by creating alternative livelihoods and causing a shift from over dependency on agriculture.

It is unfortunate that as the situation stands, many people, both married and single, still don't have access to proper family planning methods. It is because of this unmet need that most resort to unconventional methods such as abortion, consumption of herbs and other ill advised cultural practices. The effect of most of these 'methods' has been tragic. Moris Onyango, for instance, lost his wife Hellen Akoth last month after she allegedly tried to procure an abortion at a clinic in Kware, Ongata Rongai. The abortion, as is often the case, didn't go as planned as she developed complications. She sought for help at the Kenyatta Hospital but by then, it was to late. She had lost a lot of blood. Akoth, already a mother of two, was in her fifth month of pregnancy when this happened. The couple had been married for 12 years.

Very many women in Sub Saharan Africa would like to stop or postpone childbearing, but are not using family planning. Improving access to contraceptives and other family planning methods as well as the relevant education is a critical policy that African governments and the international community must pursue. Giving women the ability to delay, space or limit births is vital in bringing down maternal and infant mortality rates.

In Rwanda, the percentage of married women using contraceptives rose from 13 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2010. In Ethiopia contraceptive use increased from 8 percent to 29 percent in the same period. The National Council for Population and Development in Kenya pointed out that Kenya would achieve its Vision 2030 only if the country managed its population growth. According to the council, the current population has doubled to 38.6 million over the last two decades and is estimated to reach 71.5 million by 2030, therefore posing a threat to the country's stability.

Regrettably, the contemporary use of abortion in Africa often substitutes for and at times surpasses modern contraceptive practice. This happens not only in adolescents, but also in older age groups, particularly where contraceptive use is low and access to clinical abortion is high (though largely illegal). Abortion seems to be the method of choice for limiting or spacing births. Consider the story of 'Mama Kevevia', who has procured six abortions for herself, and two for her 17-year-old daughter who dropped out of secondary school. She explains that this is her preferred method of family planning as she already has four children and didn't want any more. This is something she unfortunately does not regret, and is in fact worried now that abortion is illegal under the new constitution unless the health or life of the mother is in danger. She says that she chose abortion because her family has limited resources and that from what she'd heard... contraceptives were dangerous.

This is a common thing in rural areas where women usually resort to abortion, usually extremely unsafe procedures, rather than using contraceptives. Relatively high levels of abortion tend to correlate with low access to modern contraception. A low status of women, strong sanctions against out of wedlock pregnancies and a traditional tolerance to abortion doesn't help either.

A good number of pregnancies are unintended. Although some may have resulted from horrible situations such as rape or defilement, the most common cause is usually a failure to use contraceptives.

Visit the Linda Uhai Page to see how you can get involved with EACLJ and other like-minded organizations who are helping women by educating them on contraceptives and by providing services such as the Kiota initiative for women in crisis pregnancy situations.

Is “safe abortion” a solution to reducing maternal mortality?

On 18th and 19th June 2013, a regional meeting for Health Ministers was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya. Among the countries represented include Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Towards the end of the meeting, which had also been attended by Ministers of Gender among other government officials, there was one common ambition: Reducing the maternal mortality rates by increasing the provision of safe abortion. According to the ministers, countries which were providing safe abortions had reduced their maternal mortality rates. They resolved to tackle the problem collectively and individually at country level by examining the laws and providing evidence in order to boost awareness on the issue.

A similar meeting was earlier held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, in the year 2003. The theme was dubbed "Action to Reduce Maternal Mortality in Africa". The regional meeting which encompassed the attendance of ministers of health, legislators, heads of professional organizations representing gynecologists and lawyers, representatives from regional and national health research and policy institutions, and representatives from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), was aimed at addressing unsafe abortions and access to abortion-related care.
To our country, this is a dangerous stance which creates a loophole that may allow backstreet practitioners to continue carrying out illegal abortions. Permitting safe abortions does not create a solution per se to the fight against maternal mortality, but rather increases the adversarial effects which include endangering the mother's health.
According to statistics released by Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance and reported by Capital News in July 25th 2012, young girls in Kenya continue to procure unsafe abortions with 16 percent of them being women below 20 years of age. It is further reported that women between the ages of 20 and 34 accounted for another 73 percent of abortions in Kenya. This does not complement maternal health but only shows the degeneration of our society's moral fabrics.

Maternal health cannot be promoted by getting rid of the unborn; rather by ensuring that both the mother and child are safe during and after childbirth. Maternal mortality can only be tackled by examining its causes and coming up with the necessary interventions which do not include killing the unborn child.
Maternal mortality is mainly attributed to hemorrhage, infection, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labor. Rather than advocating for safe abortion as an intervention, other solutions could be explored to deal with this scourge. Proper medical infrastructure with equipped medical facilities should be adequately provided. Extensive education as well as sensitization on this matter should be increased. It is also necessary to provide proper prenatal care which also includes well trained birth attendants.
Provision of abortion services is not necessary in the fight against maternal mortality. Public education on this matter should be increased to boost awareness especially to women. An educated woman therefore will have the ability to access the appropriate maternal and reproductive health services and understand the information provided to her, thereby reducing her likelihood of maternal death . Best practices should also be emulated from countries which did not embrace abortion but resorted to other interventions and have succeeded in reducing maternal mortality rates.

Abortion In Kenya



Abortion is recognized as an emotive, sensitive and even divisive issue all around the world. The case is no different here in Kenya. This was really brought to light during last year's referendum for a new constitution where the church, who were at the forefront of the NO Campaign, wanted a strong anti-abortion law included while at the same time there was a strong pro-abortion wave that stood against the Church's stand.

But before understanding the abortion situation in Kenya, it is important to first know a few facts and statistics about the Kenyan population. Kenya's population on the most recent count is 41.6 million. This means the country has doubled its population in the last two decades. This is caused largely in part by a birth rate of about 36 births/1000 population (compared to the UK that's at 12 births/1000). The population growth rate is at 2.5% per year. This roughly translates to 1 million people being added to the population every year.

Continuing with the figures, recent studies show that more than 40% of births in Kenya are are unplanned. The figure rises to 47% among teenagers. Only about 39% of women use contraceptives and it's a third of these that rely on a modern method. Reports indicate that there are about 310,000 abortions every year in Kenya. 21,000 women are admitted each year due to abortion related complications from having unsafe abortions – usually done in backstreet clinics. 2,600 of these eventually die. Of the women admitted, 12% were older than 34, 40% were between 25 and 34 while 16% were teenagers.

Reasons for Abortion

What then can explain the reported 310,000 annual abortions in Kenya? It is safe to say that behind nearly every abortion in Kenya... is an unwanted pregnancy. Most experts agree that the high rate of abortion can be explained by ignorance of or lack of access to contraceptives. Around 85% of teenage girls engaging in sex do not use contraceptives. 70% of this same group reportedly engages in casual, unprotected sex. In a recent survey conducted in Kenyan schools, only a quarter of the female students knew that contraceptive pills were to be taken by females, not the males. An even less number knew to take the pills everyday, not just before sex. Other statistics show that it is only 28% of women aged 20 – 24 that are using contraceptives.

The adolescents cite stigma of childbirth outside of marriage, the inability to support a child financially and being forced to drop out of school as the main reasons they opt for abortion.

Women who are older often cite tough economic conditions as their reasons for an abortion. Some in the urban settings say it is more of a lifestyle choice than anything else because they would, for example, rather pursue a career than have a child. Increased westernization of the country has made traditionally large families to be frowned upon by many modern women in general. The average child per woman in Kenya in the 70s was eight, while today, the figure is just under four.

Unsafe abortions in Kenya

Even with the new constitution, abortion is still considered largely illegal in Kenya. It is estimated that as a result, about a fifth of all pregnancies in the countries are terminated through very illegal and risky means. As stated earlier, the figures show that about 21,000 women are admitted with abortion related complications annually.

A third of the women treated are usually in their second trimester. Abortions done after the first trimester tend to be more risky.

Only 16% of the delivery institutions can perform the vacuum aspiration procedure, which uses suction to empty the uterus and is the preferred method recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization).

Women in rural areas have much less access to treatment as compared to those in the urban settings. Also, it is private facilities that handle more than half of post abortion care cases, yet they charge three times more than the public sector facilities.

In the 90s, the Ministry of Health included contraceptive services in the post abortion care given in district hospitals after studies showed the effectiveness of family planning counseling and contraceptive use in preventing unsafe abortions.

International Influence

Pro - life voices in Kenya have denounced the perceived encroachment of a foreign funded abortion culture in the lives of a deeply pro-life Kenyan people. It is widely believed that have been various international pro-abortion "family planning" agencies and their governments who have been putting pressure on Kenya to adopt pro-abortion legislation.

Marie Stopes International (MSI), founded by a British eugenicist of the same name, is known to provide abortion in at least 40 countries. The MSI openly states in its website that it provides legal and safe abortion services in Zambia. The Kenyan branch has clinics in various parts of the country.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a similar organization to MSI in that they are a world leader in providing services in the reproductive health sector. They list abortion related services as part of the work they do as an organization. Their African headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the largest intergovernmental organisation that aims to address the lack of access to family planning. The UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. One of the biggest roles UNFPA has is funding organisations like the MSI. Without UNFPA funding, the MSI had to shut down two of its Kenyan clinics.

The biggest financier to the UNFPA is the U.S. government. The United States though has an important policy known as the Mexico City Policy, which tightens the restrictions of the Helms Amendment regarding US assistance for foreign family planning. The policy affected NGOs not only by denying any funding for abortion, but also by forbidding funding to organisations that either perform or promote abortion. It does make exceptions for abortion operated in response to incest, rape or life-threatening pregnancy. Since its initial implementation, the Mexico City Policy has been rescinded by Democrats and reintroduced by Republicans, making the pertinent issue of reproductive health in developing countries a political tug of war. The first thing Obama did when he got into power (after about just three days) was to rescind this policy, which had been enforced by the Bush administration.

Last year during the referendum campaigns, a report issued by the Inspector General for the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) claimed that the Obama administration had spent over $23 million to influence voters to vote for a pro-abortion constitution. The U.S embassy in Kenya and the U.S Government later denied any direct involvements in the campaigns.

Abortion Laws in Kenya

Article 26 in the new constitution was the bone of contention between the pro-life and pro-choice groups in the build up to last year's referendum.

Article 26 of the Constitution contains 4 clauses on the rights to life which state that:

  1. Every person has the right to life;
  2. The life of a person begins at conception;
  3. A person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the extent authorized by this constitution or other written law;
  4. Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is a need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law

International law has been introduced as a direct source of law in Kenya and to remove the requirement for Parliament to authorize treaties, thus exposing Kenya to activist interpretations of international law. This will affect the right to life as follows:

  1. Kenya has signed but not ratified the Maputo Protocol. This Protocol seeks to create a right to medical abortions (article 14(2)(c)) in cases of danger to life or health of the mother, rape or incest or if permitted by other laws.
  2. The crystallizing international definition of reproductive health care includes a right to government funded contraceptive and abortion services. Article 43(1)(a) creates an ambiguous right to reproductive health care, that will now be interpreted as introducing a right to abortions with government funding in government facilities.

A more in depth look at the Abortion Law can be found here.

Some Suggestions on the Way Forward

No matter what side of the debate you fall on, each one of us in society is responsible for preserving health and life in general. The government is expected to:

  • Through parliament enact relevant legislation to implement health rights clauses
  • Organize for the civic education on reproductive health all over the country
  • Reinvigorate family planning programs
  • Ensure that there are qualified medical practitioners in every hospital in the country and avail medicines in the market.

The church can contribute by:

  • Teaching moral values and importance of waiting until one is married before engaging sexual activities. This is because most of the affected persons in society are the youth who do not have the ability to take care of families at their young age, so they end up seeking abortion services once they discover they are expecting a baby.
  • Organizing guidance and counseling sessions to members of society, for both the married and singles in their societies.

Schools can be expected to:

  • Teach and advice their students on sexual matters from an early age.
  • Explain the dangerous diseases that one risks when they engage in irresponsible sexual activities and also abortion in case of pregnancy

Individuals are also expected to take responsibility of their actions at all times. In the case of married women or even single ladies that are sexually active, increased caution should be observed when acquiring some of the family planning methods. They need to be aware of any side effects that may be involved. There should also be clear discussions between couples in order to agree on a particular number of children that they can both comfortably support in order to avoid cases of abortion.

Men should support their women by considering some of the family planning methods available for them so that it is not just the women who have to struggle with controlling the number of children they get.


A Synovate poll conducted during last year's referendum period showed that the citizens of Kenya are overwhelmingly pro-life. 69% were against legalization of abortion while only 9% were for it. 16% didn't think it mattered while 6% had no opinion. International influencers and other advocates of abortion are using the issue of maternal mortality and illegal abortions to argue for the full legalization of the procedure. However, proper education and awareness on contraceptives coupled with adequate health care support for pregnant women at whatever age would go a long way to curbing the vice, especially in the rural areas.

Abortion, like war, is a failure of society to come to grips with a much more fundamental problem . . . In this case the fundamental problem is the prevention of unintended pregnancy. – Werner Fornos.

Abortion In Morocco


'Women on Waves' (WoW) is an organization which was founded in 1999 by Rebecca Gomperts. After completing her training as an abortion doctor, Rebecca Gomperts worked as a physician on board Greenpeace's ship. With a ship, WoW provides contraceptives, information, training, workshops, and abortion services outside territorial waters in countries where abortion is illegal. In international waters (12 miles off the coast of a country) the local laws do not apply.

WoW claims to empower women to exercise their human rights to physical and mental autonomy. The organization believes that women can do a medical abortion themselves and ensures that women have access to abortion services and information through innovative strategies. It believes in giving women 'tools' to resist repressive cultures and laws. WoW is registered in the Netherlands as a charitable organization.

The group has spent the past 11 years visiting countries like Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. In 2004, their attempt to enter Portuguese waters was blocked when the government refused to allow them entry, and physically blocked their ship with a Portuguese Navy warship. In 2008, WoW ship landed in Valencia, Spain, where it had a mixed reception. Some demonstrators supported the group, others opposed it. As the ship attempted to dock amid both pro-life and pro-choice protesters, harbor patrol agents manning a small boat lassoed a rope around the helm of the ship and attempted to pull it away from the dock.

The WoW ship takes women into international waters to perform the abortions, which are legal under Dutch law, until 6.5 weeks into the pregnancy.

The group advocates the use of a drug called misoprostol which can be used to perform abortions up to 12 weeks after conception. Misoprostol is a drug that is used for the prevention of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) induced gastric ulcers, to treat missed miscarriage, to induce labor, and as an abortifacient. The drug carries along with it many side effects that include abdominal pain, nausea, flatulence, headache, dyspepsia, vomiting, and constipation. Other controversies surrounding the drug include its use in inducing labor as it is said to cause uterine rupture and death if used to induce labor.

Recently, the Moroccan government took measures to send away from its territorial waters, the vessel belonging to WoW, carrying activists purported to assist women to procure abortions on board. The trip to the Moroccan harbor was the abortion rights group's first event in a Muslim country.

This was done after serious protests from masses that had been provoked by the presence of the vessel in Morocco's waters. Their assertions reflected that it was against their tradition to kill the unborn. The government equally blocked the harbor and prevented residents from accessing the vessel.

Under the Moroccan system, abortion is illegal except where the mother's life is threatened, as is the case in many North African countries. It is also illegal to give out information about it.

The group is said to have launched a hotline that gives information to women in Morocco concerning abortion and how to perform an abortion at home. A similar move has been taken up in Kenya after the launching of a new hotline known as 'Aunty Jane' aimed at sharing information about how women can procure an abortion using misoprostol and prevent post-partum haemorrhage, among other sexual and reproductive health topics. The hotline was launched by WoW, Women on Web and activists from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda and it uses software from Freedom Fone, a Zimbabwean open-source initiative.

This sends a wake-up call to all the pro-life groups and persons in Kenya, Africa and all over the globe to be relentless and loud in voicing the sanctity of life, which begins at conception. They are the only voice for the voiceless – the unborn – who also have the right to life.

Abortion Scope Widened


The new constitution consists of clauses that were considered contentious by some groups before the referendum. The abortion clause was included among these. Article 26(4) 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."

This clause was argued to have relaxed the calibre of those who can offer the abortion to any health professionals, which may include; midwives, community health workers, clinical officers, nurses just to mention but a few. The delicate procedure being entrusted to anybody would see an increase in maternal death than decrease. The provision of saving the life or health of a mother during the pregnancy period was argued to be risky since child birth is actually life threatening in itself.

The wording of the article was feared to have presented a loop hole that could be misused and allow for abortion to be a legal practise to any woman that feels like doing it. Apparently, an African woman can procure an abortion when pregnancy results from rape, incest or when her life is in danger. The Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (PROWA) explicitly sets forth the reproductive right of women to procure medical abortion. It is renowned for its strong and comprehensive provisions on women's rights.

The international law, which Kenya has ratified, goes further than the Constitution in this controversial matter. It asks State parties to authorise medical abortion in case of rape, incest, and sexual assault or where the pregnancy endangers the life of mother or foetus. This statement comes after Article 2(6) "Any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of the law of Kenya under this constitution", was listed among the contentious issues in the new constitution. The provision was thought to be mischievous and the groups against it requested that there be a provision for domestication of such international proposals through parliament, so that the people of Kenya may have a chance to either agree or disagree with them before they are made law.

The African Union adopted the protocol to the African Charter on the rights of women in July 11, 2003. Kenya joined 31 other African countries that have ratified the protocol on October 6, last year. The Vice-Chairperson of the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution, Elizabeth Muli, launched a manual to guide activists and lawyers on how to use the provisions in protocol to litigate on behalf of aggrieved women.
She said the manual provides an analysis of case laws on women's rights decided by other regional and international bodies which can be used to guide courts in interpretation of women rights as provided in the protocol. The protocol asks governments to ensure women enjoy their right to decide whether to have children, how many and their spacing. It also gives women the right to know the health status of their partners.
The law also says women and men shall have a right to inherit, in equitable shares, their parents' properties. The guide was released by an international human rights organisation, Equality Now, in conjunction with Solidarity for African Women's Rights.
The release of the manual comes eight years after the protocol came into force.

  • 1
  • 2

FB Sidebar OFF

TW Sidebar OFF

the blog page