Support Justice Njoki Ndungu’s call to Justices to clarify Constitutional law on abortion in Kenya
TICAH, Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health, in Nairobi is kindly requesting signatures on their petition to call on Supreme Court Chief Justice David Maraga to support Lady Justice Njoki Ndungu’s call to the judges to clarify the clause in the Constitution on abortion in Kenya.
Lack of clarity in the law pushes women and girls who otherwise qualify for legal and safe abortion to quarks, leading to many deaths and injuries. Every day in Kenya, 18 women and girls die due to unsafe abortion. Every year, more than 120,000 women face post‐abortion complications, with many forced to see unqualified “quack doctors”. The law remains unclear to many women and health care providers.
The Kenyan Constitution 2010 Article 26(4) reads as follows: “…(4) 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”.
The Constitution is clear: abortion is legal in certain circumstances. The Constitution goes on to state the grounds on which abortion is legal, and these include when women need emergency treatment, or if their life or health is in danger. It is for this reason that Lady Justice Njoki Ndungu made a call to the Judges to clarify the Constitutional law on abortion during a Judge’s retreat in Mombasa to review Article 26(4) of the Constitution for the sake of women’s health and lives. Unfounded and unjustified criticism of her and a petition to prevent her speaking was orchestrated by the anti-abortion movement and reported in the media. Hence, TICAH have developed this petition to support her call.
While the Constitution does not define health, the World Health Organization defines health as “the complete physical, mental, and social well‐being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In addition, pregnancy often aggravates existing health conditions and in cases where a woman is HIV+ve and with very low immunity (CD4 count) or has high blood pressure or any other conditions like this, pregnancy can pose a great danger to her life and health. Kenyan law should be clear to make provisions to save her life in such circumstances.
In the absence of clear laws and guidelines for provisions of health services, legal health care providers face harassments from law enforcement agents even when they are providing services according to the law. Quacks thrive and the number of women and girls who die in their hands rises. It is the Duty of the Judiciary to uphold the Constitution of Kenya and to clarify the law.
TO the Chief Justice: You Sir, in good conscience, cannot stand by and allow this injustice to continue. We as a society must make the decision that women’s lives matter, that their lives are worth saving, and clarify laws that reduce unnecessary maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion.
The petition is widely supported by the safe abortion movement in Kenya.
Please sign here: PETITION and share widely. Let’s get thousands of signatures.