Effect abortion ruling, lobbies urge ministry

Irene Githinji @Gitshee

The Ministry of Health was yesterday urged to immediately avail in all public facilities trained health professionals, essential medicines and equipment for safe and legal abortion in accordance with the Constitution.

Federation of Women Lawyers- Kenya, Centre for Reproductive Rights and other interested human rights organisations welcomed the court ruling on reinstatement of standards and guidelines on abortion, saying it should be effected immediately.

The group, led by legal expert on Sexual Violence, Christine Alai (below), asked the Ministry to immediately reinstate training of all nurses, clinical officers, midwives and doctors on provision of safe and legal abortion services in accordance with the Constitution.

She asked the Ministry to resume at all levels, dissemination of information on safe and legal abortion and specifically, the standards and guidelines on reducing maternal mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion and the national guidelines on management of sexual violence in Kenya.

“It is a step in the right direction towards improving maternal health and gender equality outcomes for our country to achieve this. The Ministry of Health must take appropriate measures towards implementation of the judgment,” the rights group said, when they addressed a press conference at a Nairobi hotel.

No discrimination

“With implementation of the court order, women and girls will be able to access legal and safe abortion services and information, and health providers will be able to offer abortion and post-abortion care services without fear of prosecution,” said Alai.

In its ruling, the Court held that the Director of Medical Services and the Ministry violated the rights of women and girls, when it arbitrarily withdrew in 2012 the standards and guidelines and banned training of health professionals on abortion.

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