A lot of Kenyans site some crazy reasons for not supporting women’s choices when it comes to their social, economic and political independence. This is to be expected of course, even when faced with the constant reminder that change is constant and probably great for us.
Have you ever wanted to beat someone to within an inch of their life? Well, neither have I!!! I came across a few tweets during the ongoing #KeepWanjikuSafe twitter campaign that had me shaking my head feverishly, rolling my eyes nearly to the back of my skull and cursing at my poor beautiful screen. A few of these tweets are below – so preferably do not burn me at the stake for grammatical issues. Top of my head, words I can use to describe the level of ignorance and or selfishness I witnessed – appalled, terrified, worried, concerned, horrified and my all time favourite, Whaaaaaaat!!!!!
“@dailynation @minhealthke @ticah_ke Let it be known that abortion is barbaric and anyone found carrying out or attempting be sentenced”
“@dailynation @minhealthke @ticah_ke most young people abort to retain their beauty which z wrong,it should nt be allowed”
“whether safe or unsafe abortion, it is killing an innocent soul because of our choices (read mistakes) #talk2nation #KeepWanjikuSafe”
“Why should one terminate her pregnancy?people are suffering jst because they are unable to hv kids. @mahanrajesh @dailynation #Talk2Nation”
“@dailynation abortion has been misused by the wrong people(married women),who procure it due to unfaithfulnes #Talk2Nation #KeepWanjikuSafe”
Now keep in mind that the reason for this campaign was to put the government to task for withdrawing the standards and guidelines for reducing maternal mortality in Kenya that allow for the training of medical professionals on safe abortion. The withdrawal of these standards removes the provision to train medical professionals on safe abortion which then translates to legal safe medical abortions being even more grueling to access for Kenyan women. Case in point ‘Wanjiku’ a 14-year-old girl who was defiled and got pregnant as a result. She now suffers severe kidney failure due to a botched abortion from a quack and is currently reliant on dialysis.
Currently the health bill, for luck of a more emotive word, is being mutilated in parliament. In its conception – pan may be intended – the bill in part sought to ensure that all individuals attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health; to make informed decisions regarding their reproductive lives free from discrimination, coercion or violence. Progressive law right there, right!!!Forget that, who cares. There are bills allowing for polygamy being passed without much scrutiny, no, no, no, the ones allowing for maternal deaths to reduce by 1/3 are just too controversial. 120, 000 women being treated for preventable post abortion complications are not worth considering, let’s forget the 1200 of them dying every year, they’re not important enough.
Yes, I believe the employment of sarcasm in writing is crucial; the full-stop comes a close second.
The threat that is rather imminent is that a provision in the Constitution that allows for abortion – when it is in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written Law – will become borderline impossible to implement. Now dear policy implementers, something about having a cake and eating it comes to mind.