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Break The Bias By Providing unrestricted reproductive healthcare including safe and legal abortion

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Women’s access to reproductive health has been restricted by laws, cultural and religious beliefs, communal stigma and victimization that limitswomen’s enjoyment of their reproductive healthcare including human rights.

 

Adolescent girls and young women have been subjects to a number of social and health issues that do affect their lives and unfortunately disrupts their social well being and interaction.

 

As we mark and Celebrate, International Women’s Day, on 8th March under the theme of “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, we must redouble our efforts, work to demand equal and unrestricted access of reproductive healthcare including safe and legal abortion to all that need it.

 

In Kenya, high abortion figures continue to raise concern: a Reuters stated that thousands of women are dying every year in Kenya due to botched backstreet abortions.

 

Reuters cited a report from the Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR) which found that almost half a million abortions were conducted in Kenya in 2012 – the most recent data available – with one in four resulting in complications such as fever, sepsis, shock or organ failure, according to health ministry data. An estimated 2,600 women and girls die annually in Kenya, amounting to seven deaths every day, from complications related to unsafe abortions, said the CRR report.

 

In the recent times, cases of sexual violence have been increasing and this is extremely worrying to see that the systems including the gate keepers we have are not able to protect us. What aregovernment agencies doing to ensure people live in safe environments that are not influenced by patriarchal laws, religious and cultural views that negatively impact the lives of girls and women.

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Why do we have to debate on what we are entitled to? Access to Reproductive healthcare is a right of every Kenyan and the health burden received from unsafe abortion cases would be avoided if the laws and policies on safe abortion were clear, services accessible and reproductive health information available to all.

 

We should not restrict access to healthcare to women. The cost of disinformation, non-prioritization women’s health and non-implementation of laws remains dire and highly contributes to the preventable deaths that are reported everyday.

 

Its total uncalled for women to pay for these with their own lives. The ministry of health alongside other state agencies and stakeholders should continue to prioritize women’s health by ensuring a conducive legal and policy environment that provides unrestricted healthcare including reproductive healthcare to all.

 

Girls and Women are entitled to receive and exercise power, The Power of Choice. Unsafe abortion, A serious yet preventable public health problem, can be avoided. Safe Abortion saves our lives and our future. Ensuring we do not lose more girls and women to unsafe abortions is critical.

 

Access to quality and correct information and services on safe abortion will ensure that young girls and women’s future is better secured as they are able to choose on when to have a baby, thus able to invest on their education and employment, thus a better and brighter future is assured.  

 

Written by; Alvin Mwangi  

Youth Activist, Reproductive Health 

Nairobi, Kenya 

Twitter: @alvinmwangi254 

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