Monthly Archives: October 2018

Diana: As a Christian I support the right to choose

Category : My Abortion Story

By  Diana

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

As a Christian I may not like abortion but I firmly stand by women’s right to choose. Having that right to choose is a beautiful thing and it means freedom.

A Woman’s body, and the right to choose have nothing to do with politics and religion. As long as it is my uterus I’ll choose what stays inside it and what doesn’t.

Almost half of all pregnancies here in Kenya are not planned and no woman or girl should be forced to have a child that she is not ready for or does not want.

I want every woman and girl in this country to have freedom. Freedom to choose is a right that everyone is entitled to regardless of race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, color, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language.

It is not my place or responsibility to tell people what to do or how to live their lives. If a woman or girl decides to have an abortion, we need to respect her choice and work on ensuring that she has access to high quality, stigma free safe and legal abortion services.

Anne: I had my abortion 16 years ago

Category : My Abortion Story

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Story told by Anne

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

It was in 2002. I was 19 years and was in a relationship but since contraceptives were hard to find those days in our rural home, I got pregnant. We relied so much on the withdrawal and safe day’s methods but it failed us.

My boyfriend didn’t want anything to do with the pregnancy despite being responsible for the pregnancy. He decided to break up with me. I was left helpless and hopeless.

I had no source of income. I had no family to turn to since they were all dead. I could barely take care of myself.  I relied heavily on my boyfriend who was a teacher in a local primary school but since he was gone, I felt as if my world ended.

I was not ready to have a child under the harsh conditions I was in. It would be cruel to bring a child into this world just to let her or him suffer. I decided to have an abortion but it was expensive for me to have one since I had no source of income.  I had to find ways to raise the money.

With no one to turn to or talk to, I ended up in the street of Kondele in Kisumu County where I became a sex worker. I did the job for one month and I was able to raise some money.

I went to a backstreet doctor who was charging half less of what other private hospitals were charging to have my abortion.

I almost lost my life in the process due to excessive bleeding. I was rushed to a public hospital by a Good Samaritan where I got post abortion care but my womb had to go. Even though I was lucky to have survived, I lost my womb. Had there been access to safe and legal abortion services I would still be able to get pregnant now.

No girl or woman should have to go through what I had to go through.  There is need to provide women and girls with safe abortion services when they need it so that they don’t go to drastic lengths like I did.

You are not alone

Category : My Abortion Story

By Faith

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

To the women and girls who believe in choices.

To the women and girls who have made the right choice for themselves to have an abortion.

To the women and girls who are considering to have an abortion

To the women and girls who have ended their pregnancies for the sake of their education, career, safety, health, wellbeing and future.

To the women and girls who have been denied the right to choose

To the women and girls who are unapologetic about the choices they made

To the more than 1 million of us

You are not alone.  You owe no one an explanation on the choices that you make. You owe no one an apology on the choices that you make.

You are strong. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are resilient. Let no one put you down based on the choices that you make.

You have the right to choose on what stays in your body and what does not. Be strong and firm on the decision and choices that you make.

My body, My choices, My right. Period.

What if being gay was the norm

Category : Naya Blog

Image by passportmagazine

By Michael Okun Oliech

Picture this. What if the world evolved and being gay was the norm and being straight was a thing for the minority? Would we still want to be treated with respect and dignity? Would religious leaders come out publicly and fight straight people? Would gay people who are the majority see we straight people as sinners and sick? Would laws change and declare being straight illegal and being gay legal? Would being gay become natural and being straight become a choice?

Imagine being unable to marry the love of your life just because the law doesn’t permit you to do so. Imagine being denied health care services and other important services just because you are straight. Imagine being called bad names on all digital platforms, in public and in private spaces. Imagine being attacked and locked behind bars and eventually being subjected to a forceful inspection or examination of your sexual organs just to find evidence that you are straight in order to face prosecution and risk up to 20 years of imprisonment for being straight.  Imagine being denied education and job opportunities just because of you are straight. How would you feel? Bad?

If the answer is yes, then we need to change our negative attitudes and beliefs that we have towards gay men. We need to embrace sexual diversity that make us whole and stronger by acceptance of each other allowing us to focus on so many other important issues. Being straight does not give you the green light to be homophobic or discriminate against gay men. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Just like we would want others to treat us with respect and dignity, we must do the same to others because we are all human beings and have our rights.

In the 2010 constitution under the bill of rights, every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, to be free from all forms of discrimination and violence, right to privacy, to be treated with respect and dignity and to be free from beliefs and religion that is contrary to a person’s belief or religion. If all these laws were to be implemented to the letter, Kenya would be a better place.

Tom: My pharmacy might be small but it keeps women healthy and safe

Category : My Abortion Story

Story narrated by Tom

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

As a pharmacist, I usually get a lot of clients more so young women who come to me with a lot of questions about abortion and how to use the abortion pill.

Every day I get up to 5 women who come to buy the abortion pill and get more information on how it works. I offer my services secretly for fear of being arrested and charged in a court of law for helping women get abortion and risk a jail term of up to 14 years.

Despite the risk, I still do it because I want to save lives and I believe abortion is part of health care and health care is a human right. Denying safe abortion services and information to women and girls would be a violation of their rights.

Abortion is part of women’s lives. You might think abortion is not normal or common but the truth of the matter is that, abortion is very normal and common than you think.

Abortion occurs everywhere regardless of what the laws are. Restricting abortion doesn’t make it go away but instead it makes abortion be done secretly and unsafe putting the lives of women in danger. Unsafe abortion causes permanent injuries and even death.  No woman should have to risk her life or health because she lacks safe reproductive health choices.

I believe that decisions affecting a woman’s body should be left to women to decide and once they make their choice or decision known it should be respected and our role is to only make sure we provide safe and necessary resources she needs to make that choice a reality. Every person has the right to choose whether or not to move through a full pregnancy. No person should be forced through a full pregnancy.

I am a pharmacist and not a politician or a religious leader. I believe in choices. I believe that women have a right to access safe abortion information and services when they need it.  My pharmacy might be small but I am glad it keeps women healthy and safe in my community.

Lucy: I was not ready to be a mother

Category : My Abortion Story

Story told by Lucy

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

I was in my second year in campus when I found out I was pregnant. I was shocked. I was using a birth control method and I didn’t expect to get pregnant. It was clear to me that my birth control method had failed after all they are not 100 percent effective.

I was not ready to be a mother. Never in my life have I ever thought of having a child. I decided to have an abortion in a private hospital secretly without my partner knowing because I knew he would stop me despite me not being ready to be a parent.

My abortion saved my life. I could not have finished my studies in campus and started a career in journalism with an unintended pregnancy. I don’t regret making that choice to have an abortion. So long as it is my body, I make my own choices. Period.


Linda: We all have choices

Category : My Abortion Story

Story told by Linda

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

Back in high school 6 years ago, I fell in love with a guy who I thought was Mr. Perfect. He was so good to me until when I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant for him.  He refused to take responsibility and accused me of cheating and he dumped me over the phone.

I was hurt and angry but I was raised to be strong through tough times. I put myself together and after some serious thinking and soul searching, I decided to have an abortion. Having a child wouldn’t work out for me at that point of my life considering the fact that I was still young and in school.

Through the support of my mother, I was taken to a private clinic where I was to have my abortion. At first, the doctor in charge tried to convince me to keep the pregnancy but that did not change my mind and decision to have an abortion. I had my abortion and everything went well.

My ex-boyfriend later started to accuse me of killing his unborn baby, he told his friends what I had done and they all started calling me awful names just to shame me. I never had peace. I felt so helpless and hopeless because I had no one to talk to on what I been through.

My mum decided to change my school and we relocated to another estate to start a new life where no one knew what I had been through. I moved on with my life and am now concentrating on my studies in campus. I am in a healthy relationship with a man who would catch a grenade for me and jump in front of a train for me.

I hate the fact that there is so much stigma out here that comes with having an abortion. I believe that no woman or girl should be forced to carry a pregnancy she is not prepared to have just to satisfy a man and society at large who have no clue at all about her life, situation or what she is going through. We all have choices and having an abortion is one of them and should stay that way.


Category : My Abortion Story

Story told by Achieng

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

I remember that painful and terrifying day vividly. It was on Saturday, March 28th 2018 at around 10pm when I was brutally defiled by a man I didn’t know or recognize.

Our home is located three hundred meters away from a famous restaurant here in seme sub county. On that day out of curiosity, my elder sister and I decided to go and check on what was happening there due to the loud music and shouting that came from the area. When we reached, we found out that one of the popular Luo musicians was performing. There were a lot of people both inside and outside the restaurant so we decided to stay outside for a while since I was underage and could not be allowed in. After I had enough, I decided to leave my sister as she seemed to be enjoying herself and walked home.

Before I got far, I noticed I was being followed by a man dressed in all black clothes. He was tall and slim even though I couldn’t see his face as it was quite dark.  I assumed he was also heading home since the footpath that heads to our home is usually used by other people.

When I reached near a small bush which is like 100 meters away from our house, the man ran towards me and held a grip on my hand and threatened to kill me if I dared to scream. He pulled out a small machete hidden in his waist, pointed it at my throat and ordered me to lie on the ground. He then proceeded to do the despicable act despite my numerous pleas for  mercy. It was the most intense pain I have ever felt both physically and emotionally. After he was done he left heading towards the restaurant.

I felt dirty, scared and weak. I did not know what to do and who to approach or talk to. The environment both at home and in school were not conducive. My dad being a widower was a drunkard and our teachers in school were harsh and unapproachable. I decided to keep it to myself. No one would ever know what had happened to me.

One month later I found out I was pregnant. I hid it from my teachers and family but they eventually found out as my stomach grew bigger by the day. I had it rough in school. The teachers mocked me, my fellow students mocked me until eventually the head teacher in our school called me and asked me to drop out of school for a while and postpone my education until the time I gave birth. He said there was no way I was going to sit for my final Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination because he had taken my name off the list of those who would sit for it in fear that I would bring bad grades for the school and that I would encourage other female students to get pregnant.

Feeling unwanted, I ran away from home for two weeks to my aunt’s place because the pressure was too much. Even while there, I never disclosed to her that I was raped. I only did this when I got the courage to talk to a Network for Adolescent and of Youth Africa- Kenya (NAYA Kenya) personnel who is a family friend and was interested in my case. He wanted me to go back to school. He was so understanding and promised to help me. I thank the guy who rescued my life after picking up my story and presenting it to the director of education who ordered that I go back to school and assured me that I would sit for my final exam. She also ordered I be taken for antenatal care, counseling and be treated with respect and dignity all the time I was in school.

I am five months pregnant now carrying a child I was not really ready to bring into the world. My dad had a change of heart and offered to take care of the child once I gave birth even though I wish I had a different choice. I do not want to be a mother right now as I am only 15 years old with a lot of goals to achieve in life.

If safe and legal options to end my pregnancy were available then I would have ended my pregnancy long time ago. If there was no shaming of rape victims and women that choose to abort, I would have ended my pregnancy long time ago. If I had information about safe abortion services and where to get help I would have spoken up sooner. If I had information on what to do when sexually abused, I would have taken action.

No girl should have to undergo what I had to go through.

My abortion Story

Category : My Abortion Story

Story told by Lucy

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

I was 18 years old when I found out I was three weeks pregnant. I was in my first year in campus. Being the firstborn in our family and a daughter of a peasant, I was so scared. I did not want to be a disappointment to my family and siblings. I wanted to complete my education and become that brilliant lawyer that I have always wanted to be and help my family. I was not ready to be a mum and raise a baby when I was still a baby myself. My boyfriend was not ready to be a dad. Considering the fact that we could barely take care of ourselves there was no way we could take care of another being.

Having an abortion was the only option that was available to us. We decided to use half of our higher learning education loan to go and get abortion services at a private hospital. The procedure was a bit painful but I was so relieved when it was over and everything went well. I was extremely relieved that I was no longer pregnant and I could now go back to class and study without stressing or worrying about the pregnancy and what people and my family would think or say about me.

Ten years down the line and looking back at the decision I made when I was young, I don’t regret it. Here I am today married to the man who stood by me during the most difficult time of my life, helped and supported me when I made the hard decision to have an abortion. I was able to attain my degree in with law first class honors and now I am a lawyer blessed with a beautiful girl and a handsome boy who are wanted and we are a happy family.

Abortion should be a choice left in the hands of women and not in the hands of policy makers, religious leaders and society at large.  It is very important that women should be allowed to decide if, when and whether to become parents or not. It is our body and we should decide on what stays inside our body. When a woman decides to have an abortion we should respect her decision and make sure we avail the resources and services she needs to make it safe. I believe safe abortion is a human right and the government must respect a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her sexual and reproductive health life.