´´Kenyan women´´ let’s have this discussion. Sometimes in life there are -no good solution. Life puts you in a position where, there are only hard choices to be made. Who gets to decide and make those choices is crucial. They should be given a chance to speak, especially women who find themselves in a position where Abortion is their only option. Many of the masses who are in favour of the restriction of contraception coverage are the same people who are also fighting against abortion. I am sincerely trying to wrap my head around this contradiction´+ line of thinking. You want to restrict access to birth control and also restrict access to abortion, seriously? Let’s take a second and think about this, if you do not want women to have unplanned pregnancies that lead to abortions, wouldn’t it make sense to expand their access to birth control? Also, whatever happened to the separation of church and state? how did we reach a point where men of cloth started making reproductive health decisions-for women Are we now writing legislation based on religious preferences and beliefs? One sided decision-that are out of touch with reality. Why can’t we be in touch with the reality on the ground.
I am WOMAN, MOTHER, DOCTOR and it probably comes as no shock that I am 100% percent team pro-choice. I believe In -No one has the right to determine what a woman does with her own body, especially men and even worse men of cloth. She is the only one who can make that serious decision. Don’t get me wrong: You can be pro-choice and that does not translate to pro-abortion. Whether an abortion is the result of protecting the mother’s health, or due to rape, or an unplanned teen pregnancy, no one is happy about the need to terminate a pregnancy. I understand what a prickly subject this can really be. However, one must acknowledge that it is every human being’s right to control their own physical well being and in women their reproductive health. To disallow this and rob women of the choice to give birth or not is draconian and patriarchal.
If we remove religious leanings and emotion from the discussion, some of the facts are: Abortion rates are actually up in this country, and that is directly related to lack of access to resources by our health facilities provided by the- national government-which provides the birth control pill and IUDs to girls and women at reproductive health care facilities. According to a 2014 report conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, “The abortion rate rose to its highest level since the coming in of the Jubilee government as compared to the Kibaki administration. They credit this fall in the number of abortions to reduced contraception access and COVID 19 outbreak. Makes sense huh? Contraception is the only way to prevent unplanned pregnancies which may lead to abortions. The Kenyatta administration’s latest decision to cut back funding to these resources, as well as alleviating coverage for contraception, will only work to increase abortions in this country. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand the cause and effect of access to contraception to women.
Point black-Access to Safe abortion in Kenya- is a necessity for women. And even the most conservative person out there has to acknowledge that this is especially true pertaining to cases of rape, defilement and incest. A rape is already traumatizing enough, but to have to carry your rapist’s product inside of you for nine months with no assistance is akin to being raped all over again. The same is true when incest occurs. A thirteen-year-old girl like the one in Mandera should not be forced to give birth to her father’s child. Any person who argues against that lacks even the most basic sense of decency or compassion.
Rape and incest aside, all women deserve access to safe abortions services in Kenya. Restricting access to abortion and contraception will not rid the world of abortions. It will reduce the number of safe abortions and increase unsafe abortions. Do we really want women reverting back to coat-hanger abortions because Catholics refuse to put their religious and moral beliefs aside for the sake of women’s health? You’re allowed to feel how you want to feel about abortion. However, you are not allowed to govern women’s bodies with your personal beliefs and opinions. You are not allowed to use religion as a weapon against women’s rights.
As a female, I know that my rights have been and continue to be up for debate on this matter any time of the day. However, I know that what I do with my body and the control I have over my body is one matter that is not up for debate or discussion-no go zone. So, I fight for the right of women to have safe and healthy choices regarding their bodies and their choice to give birth or notwhether to keep a pregnancy or not.
Let us look at how we can provide solution and not be part of the problem.
Dr. N. k. Kariuki