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Don’t trade off women’s Bodies to the USA

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Out of the many girls and women who are who are hospitalised, due to unsafe abortions, many of them do not survive because of complications that arise.

Between 2012 and 2016 Kenya spent 500Million shillings on unsafe abortions. It is a fact that girls and women continue to lose their lives following Kenya’s co-signing of this Geneva Consensus Declaration.

This Declaration is by USA, a country with laws that allow its own women safe abortion services but is now “forcing” Kenya to refuse safe services for women who need legal health services.

This is not What Women Want. This Declaration is seen as a move to restrict the practice of safe abortion,
undermine the rights of women to their bodily autonomy and will in effect have more dire effects of driving the practice underground by making it more deadly.

This Geneva Consensus Document is a problem to our national values and a contradiction to the International commitments that Kenya has signed on to previously including Uhuru’s promises to women at ICPD 25. President Uhuru Kenyatta stood and promised to eliminate preventable maternal mortality yet now refuses to address unsafe abortion as a leading cause for the death of women.

This means that the President does not care about women’s lives. In 2019 at ICPD25 Pres. Kenyatta promised to address all forms of SGBV. But now Kenya has signed onto a Declaration that will punish rape survivors. This
is not What Women Want Kenya’s co-signing of this Declaration is at variance to its own constitutional obligations under Article 26(4), existing international commitments and relapse to its own national documents, many of which have prioritized women’s reproductive health including the right to safe abortion. It is hypocritical for the Government of Kenya to endorse such a retrogressive declaration imposed on it by the USA.

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Our government is now playing politics with our lives and health by cosying up to an extremist agenda by the USA. CSOs are outraged that Kenya’s government would posture in support of this anti-human rights agenda when
we face the largest COVID related epidemics of rising rapes, teen pregnancies and unsafe abortion in sub-Saharan Africa, Our youth are suffering and dying from preventable deaths.

The constitution of Kenya guarantees all Kenyans the right to health, including reproductive health and emergency medical health under Article 43 (1)(a) and 43 (2). The signing of the Geneva declaration goes against Article 2(5) and (6) of the Constitution that upholds our rights to enjoy international laws and treaties that Kenya is signed onto. By signing Kenya onto the Geneva Consensus Declaration, the government is defying the constitution and
Kenya’s international obligations.

The president should honor the commitments to the UN. Withdraw Kenya’s signature to this faulty Geneva Declaration. We will not allow you to play politics with our bodies and lives. We will not be trade-offs!

The government should abide by this law. Unsafe abortions are a serious yet preventable public health problem that could be avoided if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Macharia Kamau, retract against the Geneva Consensus Declaration undermining women’s human rights.

Alvin Mwangi
Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Youth Expert
Nairobi County
Twitter: @alvinmwangi254

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