Kenya: Atheists and Religious Leaders Clash Over Abortion

13 November 2019

Atheists in Kenya president Harrison Mumia has criticised religious leaders over their stand on the ongoing 25th International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25). Mr Mumia said the religious leaders' ideologies are retrogressive.

Mr Mumia said his association wants women to be allowed to choose the number and spacing of their children. He said women should have access to information and education.

In a statement, Mr Mumia criticised religious leaders led by chairman of the Kenya Catholic Church Bishops, Philip Anyolo, for purporting to reject the introduction of ideologies centred on gender and what they term alien practices that go against African culture and religious heritage, which they said are promoted by the ICPD25.


"We ask Kenyans to treat these marks with contempt. We cannot keep promoting retrogressive African cultures and religious positions. It is disheartening that President Uhuru Kenyatta seems to support the religious leaders," he said.

He cautioned against promoting African traditions and religious heritages while statistics indicate that 300,000 abortions occur in Kenya annually.

The statistics indicate that one in five maternal deaths result from unsafe abortions.

"The government should eliminate barriers to obtaining family planning services. All women, especially the young and poor should get free or low-cost family planning services," Mumia said.

He also called for the introduction of sex education in schools saying this will provide vital information that adolescents need to enable them make informed decisions regarding reproductive health.


He urged the government to expand post-abortion care services to address the rising need for the services across the country.

He called for the review of the Constitution to legalise abortion and make it safe.

"We would like to make it clear that religious leaders are not the custodians of morality in Kenya," he said.

Sections of the country's clergy criticised the ICPD25 which began at the KICC on Tuesday, claiming it promotes vices including voluntary abortion, same sex marriages, early involvement in sex and homosexuality.

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