A doctor has claimed that statistics on unsafe abortion are manipulated to support debate for legalising it.
During the hearing of a case on whether the country should reinstate safe abortion guidelines, Dr Wahome Ngari told the High Court that statistics on unsafe abortions released in 2002 were inaccurate.
Then, a research conducted by a reproductive health firm and whose findings were produced in court, put the number of unsafe abortions at 400,000.
But according to Ngari, the correct figure was 140,000.
The doctor testified that the research deliberately incorporated the number of women who lost their unborn children through other means other than abortion.
He explained that a similar trick had been employed in other countries to push for legalisation of abortion.
“It was used in Malawi to push the Government to repeal their abortion law,” he said.
According to Ngari, more focus should be on loss of blood during pregnancy, which, he said, caused the largest number of deaths among women and girls.
He testified that abortion was not the leading cause of maternal deaths.
The doctor was testifying in a case filed by a 15-year-old girl alongside Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida-Kenya) and the Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR), seeking orders to compel the State to allow guidelines for safe abortions.
The girl, code named JMM, died last month, fours years after undergoing an unsafe abortion in a pharmacy in Kisii.
Medical reports indicate that JMM’s kidneys were infected in the process and that an item which was used in the unsafe abortion perforated her intestines.
Before she died, JMM had moved to the High Court, arguing that she would have procured a safe abortion from a trained personnel if the guidelines were in place.
But according to Ngari, abortion was not top on the list of risks facing expectant mothers in the country.
“The reason pregnant mothers die in the country is haemorrhage, followed by infections, hyperactive disorders, prolonged or obstructed labour and lastly abortion. Anyone who wants to offer a solution should follow that order,” he observed.
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