Marie Stopes abortion services ban lifted, but with conditions

Friday December 21 2018

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JILL NAMATSI
By JILL NAMATSI
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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 in Kenya 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 reviewed 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 from various facilities for review and suspending all abortion-related services at all Marie Stopes facilities.