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Every 9 minutes a woman dies needlessly as a result of an unsafe illegal abortion.

By Okun Oliech | April 30th 2017

Induced abortion is one of the most performed medical interventions in the world. Abortions will always be necessary as a backup even when women use several forms of contraception. Even when using the best methods such as the contraceptive pill or a condom, the chance of failure is 2% each year.

A significant amount of women will most likely face unwanted pregnancy and will provoke an abortion themselves or go to a person without medical training, increasing health risks and the risk of hospitalisation due to complications.

According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014, more than a third of all pregnancies in Kenya are unplanned. As a result, every year nearly a quarter of all pregnant women choose to have an abortion.

Even though Kenya has some restrictive abortion laws, it does not reduce the number of abortions. It is estimated that more than 500, 000 abortions are performed here in Kenya annually (ministry of health).

Research has shown that where abortion is illegal, it is primarily women without financial means or information who take recourse to unsafe abortion methods which is the leading cause of maternal mortality. Every 9 minutes a woman dies needlessly as a result of an unsafe illegal abortion.

Legalisation of abortion and availing of safe and above all affordable centres can prevent unnecessary suffering and death of women. Out of every 100 women that do medical abortions, 2 or 3 women have to go to a doctor to receive further medical care. Furthermore, less than 1 in every 500,000 women who have a medical abortion die, making medical abortions safer than childbirth and naturally occurring miscarriages.

Restrictive abortion laws violate women's human rights based on agreements made at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under article 1, 3, 12, 19 and 27.1.

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