Online campaign compels government to lift abortion ban in Marie Stopes clinics
The ban on abortions in Marie Stopes clinics has been lifted just hours after Kenyans online pleaded with the Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
Using the hashtag #DearCSSicilyKariuki, Kenyans on Twitter urged the minister to give a chance to professionally procured abortions and prevent deaths that may occur during backstreet abortions.
In a press release, the minister has now directed that “the ban on post abortion care services at Marie Stopes be lifted and the facility ensure that all procedures are carried out within the law.”
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) had ordered Marie Stopes to stop offering any form of abortion services in the country.
The board said it acted after complaints from members of the public and was seeking an adherence to Kenyan laws that outlaw abortion with an exception being only when it is performed on mothers endangered by a pregnancy.
The Minister in her release said after reviewing the board’s observations and determination she had directed that the facility complies with the board’s recommendations and “not carry out any abortion services on demand.”
Kenyans online had been pleading with the CS to save mothers from deaths that may occur when procuring unprofessional abortions.
Janet Machuka wrote, “#DearCSSicilyKariuki Women can make their own choices, the curtailing of these rights doesn’t help, you would think that women are not capable of rational, ethical decision-making and have to be protected from making the “wrong” decision. It never works that way.”
K Onyangos tweeted, “#DearCSSicilyKariuki The cost of treating abortion related complications is approximately half a billion each year. We have in the recent past watched an expose of a thriving underworld of quack doctors treating women in dehumanizing manner.”
Jade Maina stated, “#DearCSSicilyKariuki please do not claw back on women’s rights towards ending maternal death by shutting down life saving services #KeepWanjikuSafe by lifting ban on essential PostAbortionCare services.”
Clinton Ndege wrote, “#DearCSSicilyKariuki Being a mother is just one option for women. Many hard battles have been fought to win political and economic equality for women. These gains will not be worth much if reproductive choice is denied.”
Savara Muchugu tweeted, “#DearCSSicilyKariuki You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”
Some tweeps were however in support of the ban calling for a discussion around preventing unplanned pregnancies instead.
Bravin stated, “#DearCSSicilyKariuki I look forward to a Time when we are going to discuss about unplanned pregnancies rather than abortion. Pregnancy is a Consequence of an action & have to live with the consequences. Rape is a Special case which needs counseling, HIV & PG prevention treatment.”
Winrose added, “Where would I be if my mother aborted me?,I feel it’s very wrong, let girls do family planning to avoid these abortions. Sometimes I imagine what a second trimester baby can go through when its being sliced to pieces, this is a baby with feelings, with bones? #DearCSSicilyKariuki.”