KENYA – Vigil commemorating the life of Caroline Mwatha and the lives of women and girls lost due to unsafe abortion and those living with abortion-related disabilities, 21 February 2019
We are calling upon Kenyans of goodwill to join us in commemorating the life of Caroline Mwatha, who until her untimely demise was a wife, a mother and a celebrated human rights defender in her community.
Unsafe abortions are one of the main causes of maternal deaths in Kenya. As at 2014, unsafe abortions accounted for 35 percent of the maternal deaths in Kenya, far beyond the global average of 13 percent. It has been reported that an estimated 2,600 women and girls, most of them aged between 10 and 24 years, die from unsafe abortions annually. This amounts to 7 women and girls dying every day.
Seven women and girls, every day, that opted for or were exposed to unsafe abortion due to: lack of access to accurate information regarding Kenyan laws on abortion; lack of access to reproductive health services including family planning and; the social stigma that surrounds abortion in Kenya. 7 women and girls, every day, whose deaths are preventable and countless others that are living with lifelong disabilities because of unsafe abortions.
In cognizance of the above, we honour the lives of women and girls lost due to unsafe abortion and those living with abortion related disabilities and we ask the Kenyan government to avert further deaths by ensuring access to comprehensive reproductive health information and services for women and girls in Kenya, including on safe legal abortion.
Center for Reproductive Rights, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Police Reforms Working Group Kenya, Social Justice Center Working Group, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya