What we talk about when we talk about safe abortion

What we talk about when we talk about safe abortion

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BY DANIEL OTIENO

Despite suspicion by those opposed to abortion, the main reason health advocates talk about abortion at all is because we want to ensure the health of women seeking health care are protected.

When we talk about safe abortion we want the community to understand that, continued silence is increasing deaths when women seek unsafe methods of terminating pregnancy.

The dangerous herbs, use of unsterilized equipment, the unsafe methods women employ in procuring abortion will continue resulting in deaths unless we openly talk on safe abortion.

Today an average of seven women may die daily while trying to procure abortion using unsafe methods.

When these women do not understand the laws and policies around abortion in Kenya; when the medics who are to attend to these women are not trained on value clarification and attitude transformation; and if these medics are not qualified medical personnel, we will lose more women, not to mention the other consequences that include complications in future pregnancy.

The moment you mention the word abortion, many people will start thinking that you are encouraging people, women and girls particularly to terminate pregnancy indiscriminately and without good reason.

This is especially the case when you try to have the conversation in the rural areas or even next to elderly, you are most likely to be accused of going against the societal values.

Yet our major concern when we talk about abortion is that we are trying to find solutions to women’s health so that they can participate equally in society and with dignity.

The Kenyan constitution is clear on what situations abortion is permitted: When the woman’s life is in danger or when the pregnancy is threatening the life of the woman.

However due to limited public education on abortion and the constitution, anyone starting a conversation relating to safe abortion will always be victimized.

This calls for the need to educate the society on the consequences of unsafe abortion that include diseases, fertility problems and deaths. This is what we talk about when we talk about safe abortion

Mr Otieno is a youth advocate at NAYA Kenya