The Kenyan Government has been urged not to support the US-led Anti-Abortion pact. More than 20 charities have written to Kenya’s Foreign Ministry demanding that Kenya withdraws from the Geneva Consensus Declaration.
The declaration was co-sponsored by the United States, Brazil, Uganda, Egypt, Hungary, and Indonesia – on Oct. 22, but according to critics, it could push more women and girls to undergo unsafe abortions.
The U.S. Department for Health, in relation to GCD, holds the view that it should be a country’s sovereign right to formulate its own abortion law without external pressure.
Kenyan charities working to promote women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kenya bitterly disagree with the pact saying it was a deliberate attempt to weaken international efforts to safeguard women’s rights.
“The document totally undermines the mandate and ability of the United Nations to develop harmonized policies that advance desirable human rights documents,” said Linda Kroeger. “By demanding states be allowed to fashion their own abortion laws, it will encourage states notorious for human rights violations to fashion punitive laws against women,” Kelin added.
Data from the Ministry of Health indicates that almost half a million abortions, most of which were unsafe, were conducted in Kenya in 2012 with one in four women and girls suffering complications such as high fever, sepsis, shock, and organ failure
“Our youth are suffering and dying from preventable deaths. The minister of foreign affairs must withdraw from this declaration,” said Jedidah Maina, executive director of the charity, Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health
Kenya’s 2010 constitution broadened access to abortion, permitting it when a woman’s life is at risk or in case of an emergency, and guaranteeing the right to life and reproductive health services.
Other nations that have signed the GCD include Bahrain, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Libya, Pakistan, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.