KENYA – The right to abortion is in the national constitution and the Maputo Protocol

Article 43(a) of the Constitution of Kenya provides for the right to “the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to healthcare services, including reproductive healthcare”. Article 26 (4) allows abortion when the life or health of a pregnant woman is in danger or in case of an emergency.There are countless stories that support the need for social protections for women and girls. Take the case of Nafula, whose water broke too early in the pregnancy, resulting in an infection in the uterus with a high risk of spreading quickly into her bloodstream and a very high risk of death. Or take Atieno, who was violently gang-raped — and impregnated — by vigilantes from a warring political camp during the 2007 post-election violence. Then, there’s Moraa, who can barely survive in the Korogocho slums, doing odd jobs, often going for days without a meal as she cannot afford it, has five other children to feed and has just been evicted by her landlord.By far, the most common reason for abortion is the unmet need for contraceptives. A recent Health Ministry report showed Kenya has the third-highest rate of teenage pregnancy. One in five girls aged 15-19 are already mothers or pregnant.Last week was the 19th anniversary of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol). It’s a year since Kenya made its Generation Equality Commitments.It is imperative that we honour our commitments and fully implement our Constitution.SOURCE: Nation, Kenya Edition, by Evelyne Opondo. 21 July 2022.