ABORTION IN KENYA
It can be described in a simple way as the act of getting rid of an unborn child. Abortion debate has dominated the thoughts of Kenya since antiquity. This is an issue that has been there in Kenya since time in memorial because it began in the traditional era before colonialism. Most communities in the past considered it a taboo to bear a child before marriage. Incase a woman fell pregnant before marriage the community’s solution to this problem was abortion of the child. That was just an example to show that abortion has very deep roots in our country not to forget that most Kenyans stick to their traditions. The new constitution of Kenya adopted in the year 2010 establishes that a pregnant woman or adolescent may choose to have an abortion when in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment or her life or health is in danger. This is the only legal excuse of an abortion in Kenya yet numerous cases of unsafe abortions are still being reported in Kenya. A report from the ministry of health reveals 465,000 women had abortions during the year 2012 with majority of this number having engaged in unsafe conditions despite of the new constitution in place. Dr. Elizabeth Kimani of the African Population and Health Research Center says despite the safety concerns there is resistance in Kenya to addressing the problem thus the reason as to why despite the laws that are put in place the number of women who indulge in unsafe abortion is high in the country. Unsafe abortion which is the most considered way by many in the country comes with various health hazards and complications to those women who use these methods. According to a report released last year by the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights found unsafe abortions caused up to 50 percent of maternal deaths in Kenya. It is said some of the methods women were using to terminate pregnancies included taking traditional herbs or high doses of anti-malarial medication. Another report by The Kenya Human Rights Commission on teenage pregnancy and unsafe abortions also shows that perforation of the cervix by an object to induce premature labor was the most common type of abortion. These unsafe methods usually result to problems for example perforation of the cervix by an object can damage the cervix not only temporarily but also permanently, it can also lead to barrenness. There is also being arrested for breaking the law and being charged with murder which leads to imprisonment. Excessive bleeding can also lead to death of the person undertaking the abortion. A psychological trauma is also another effect resulting from an unsafe abortion although not many people seem to realize it even when they are suffering from this problem and when informed of this problem most of them are usually in denial. Damage to the genital tract and infections. It is surprising how majority of the women who undergo abortion rely on the unsafe methods of abortion but as the saying goes ‘’there are two sides to every story’’ and so does unsafe abortion. Some engage in unsafe practice due to stigma in the society on abortion. Majority of Kenyans are against abortion due to various reasons like religion . Most religions view abortion as killing even if it is done to save a life. Hence most women fear being condemned by friends and family due to this issue. There is also stigma by health professionals on abortion. This is where by those who are professionally trained medically usually instead of helping their patients who are in need of professional help in abortion they tend to condemn and discriminate on these patients thus discouraging them and making them feel hated and lose a sense of direction hence making poor choices. Another reason is the lack of a national communication strategy on safe abortion hence most people especially those living in the rural areas who still cling to traditions and are still using traditional...
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