Friday, June 21, 2019 | News

Kenya restores standards and guidelines for comprehensive reproductive health, including abortion

Earlier this month, Kenya made progress toward advancing women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights: The High Court ruled to restore the standards and guidelines for comprehensive reproductive health, including abortion. The S&Gs were originally instated in 2012 but withdrawn the following year. The reinstatement will allow providers to offer safe abortion care when the health or life of a woman is in danger, in cases of emergency and for survivors of sexual violence. Ipas Africa Alliance partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) on a case in 2015 challenging the withdrawal. CRR filed the case on behalf of an adolescent who died after suffering from complications from an unsafe abortion. The Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya and human rights activists were also part of the coalition supporting the challenge.

“I am glad that Ipas was able to join other partners in Kenya to support the litigation strategy initiated by CRR,” said Judith Okal, Ipas Africa Alliance senior policy advisor. Okal was an advocate for the petitioner when CRR filed the case and joined Ipas after it was filed.

The court found that the Director of Medical Services and the Ministry of Health had violated the rights of Kenyan women and girls by arbitrarily withdrawing the guidelines, creating uncertainty about the status of legal abortion and discouraging medical providers from performing abortions for fear of criminal prosecution.

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