20 December 2018

Kenya: CS Kariuki Lifts Ban On Marie Stopes Abortion Services, With Conditions

Photo: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp
Marie Stopes clinics provide many reproductive health services, including abortion.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has lifted the ban on post-abortion care services by Marie Stopes Kenya and ordered its full compliance with relevant laws.

In a statement on Thursday, Ms Kariuki directed the company to observe all laws that cover its work, as stated in article 26(4) of the Constitution.

CONDITIONS

The CS further asked Marie Stopes to comply with all directives issued by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, to which it must submit a letter of commitment "that they will not carry out any abortion services on demand".

She added, "I require the [medical board] to carry out regular supervision of the operations of Marie Stopes Kenya and submit corresponding reports to my office".

The law permits abortions only in the case of emergencies and where the life or health of the woman is in danger.

In these cases, the procedure must be recommended by a trained health professional. Abortion is also allowed if permitted by any other written law.

Ms Kariuki noted that all health practitioners and institutions must adhere to these regulations.

PETITION

The case arose from a petition by Thomas Ireri and Anne Kioko of CitizenGo Africa, who accused Marie Stopes of advocating for abortions through Radio Africa stations.

The petitioners noted that the Kenya Film Classification Board had banned the advertisements.

As a result, the minister asked the board to carry out investigations.

"The board fully investigated the matter and parties were given a fair hearing," CS Kariuki said, adding random inspections were carried out and files reviews to ensure compliance with the law.

"The board has confirmed to me that Marie Stopes has complied with orders issued on November 10," she said.

The directives included deactivating the 0800-toll free number and the advertisements during the investigations period, submitting 100 patient files for various facilities for review and suspending all abortion-related services at all its facilities.

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