Young, beautiful, African, pregnant woman is standing on black background and looking at camera/Courtesy.

Does The Kenyan Law Allow Abortion?

Abortion is a sensitive and contentious issue - with religious, moral and political dimensions.

1 min read

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or “spontaneous abortion”; these occur in approximately 30% to 40% of pregnancies while induced abortion ends a pregnancy with medication or a medical procedure.

Abortion is a sensitive and contentious issue – with religious, moral and political dimensions. It is also a public health concern globally and in Kenya.

Here is what the Kenyan Constitution says about abortion:

Does the Constitution of Kenya permit abortion?

Article 26(4) provides that:

Abortion is permitted if, 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.

Does the Constitution permit post abortion care?

Article 43(2) provides that:

No person may be denied emergency medical treatment. This includes post-abortion care, that is medically given to women for treatment of abortion complications.

Misoprostol, one of the two drugs used in a medication abortion. Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images.

Who qualifies for access to safe abortion services?

In accordance with the Constitution, The Health Act 2017, and the National Guidelines on the Management of Sexual Violence 2014, a woman:

• In need of emergency treatment or

• Whose pregnancy poses a danger to her life or

• Whose health is in danger. The Health Act 2017 defines health as a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease.

What is the legal right and duty of a registered and licensed medical professional?

• Inform a woman when she qualifies for safe abortion;

• Perform safe abortion where a woman qualifies for one;

• Has a right not to be harassed when offering safe abortion services; and

• Has a right to conduct timely and effective referrals when he/she cannot perform the abortion.

Does the law allow backstreet abortion?

No. Safe abortion must be conducted only by a registered and licensed medical professional using proper equipment, correct techniques, in a functional and well equipped health facility and only in the circumstances permitted above. Persons who violate the law are liable to punishment.

Cropped studio shot of a woman holding a hanger with “pro choice” painted on her stomach against a dark background/Courtesy.

Source: KELIN.

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