Legalise abortion, lobbyists tell State

Reproductive health advocates have urged the government to decriminalise abortion, provide access to its services and end stigma towards women who choose to terminate unintended pregnancies.

Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and Reproductive Health Network yesterday, separately said the Health ministry has created confusion among healthcare workers and denied women access to safe and legal abortion services.

The lobbyists said the situation has been caused by lack of substantive legislation that clarify what the Constitution states on procurement and procedures of abortion by medical professionals.

Speaking in Nairobi yesterday, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Nairobi Joseph Karanja said that women are still at risk of losing lives through quack doctors, saying that the procedures are still undertaken under unsafe environments.

According to Karanja, the Ministry should put in place measures that will restrict the practice only to trained health professionals vetted by the ministry. “Women are still at a very high risk and having the government looking into the matter would turn around a lot of things for women especially because it is a right provided for in the Constitution,” he said.

He urged the government to keep the public on the know about documents signed in foreign countries, citing that the government signed draft revised Maputo Plan of Action.

Meanwhile, Reproductive Health Network National Secretary Simon Mwangi said that the guidelines, withdrawn nearly a year after they were released, were essential in clarifying when medical professionals could perform safe abortion services under the Constitution.

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