Written by on June 9, 2019

In the event that abortion bans have caused such a majormayhem over the past several months across the world, I couldn`t help but wonder if we, the society, views women as fully autonomous human beings. Fully independent and able to govern themselves and their own bodies.

Late last year, the Kenya Medical Practitioners & Dentist Board sent a letter to Marie stopes stating “Marie Stopes Kenya is hereby directed to immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities within the republic.” This was in an attempt to ban the reproductive health clinic from performing any abortion or post abortion care to their patients.

 It was at this moment that I sought to gather the thoughts of those around me. What did they think about abortion as a whole? Most of them tended to be of the opinion that abortion, however “morally wrong” is still okay in some instances. Some were of course completely anti-abortion, a thought I didn`t pay much thought to since most of them were men who neither had a womb nor had the right to determine what happens with one.

I was never fully ready to answer to the question when my friend asked me, “and what do you think about abortion Izzy?”  I started to explain how nobody ever wants to have an abortion…that sometimes a woman my choose to terminate a pregnancy that came forth as a result of rape, or even due to health factors, but then I was wrong for that statement.

 How you may ask? Sometimes a woman may choose to abort. Not a result of rape, incest or a birth defect. Abortion does not have to be validated only when associated with some form of trauma. A woman does not have to have been abandoned by her partner for her abortion to be “morally valid”.

 Some women just don’t want to be pregnant. They never hesitated in their decision to abort. It didn’t happen violently (they weren’t raped or coerced).  They just did not want to be pregnant and that is 100% okay. Terminating a pregnancy isn’t always ‘difficult or tragic’ and pushing this narrative is an attempt at shaming those who do not feel tragedy or despair over theirs.

Womxn deserve autonomy over their bodies just as men do and we trust womxn to make their own decisions on what is best for their own health. A right does not require permission. It is not a woman’s job to make anyone comfortable with her decision. Her body IS her decision.

Of course I do not feel that anyone is ever enthusiastic about any major medical procedure. Be it chemotherapy, a vasectomy or even an abortion. Heck, nobody is ever looking forward to a trial in court. Ideally they would never been in the situation in the first place.

Fortunately for Kenyan women, the HEALTH CS Kariuki lifted the ban on Marie Stopes Kenya from offering post abortion care services a month later citing the efforts of the health and women rights activists on social media cites. The ban would never have ended abortions. It would have just led to a rise in unsafe backstreet abortions. Which is already a menace seeing as an average of 7 women die on a daily in the country due to unsafe abortion. Let’s accord our women full autonomy over their bodies and lives. Let’s make abortion safe,legal and rare.

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