The High Court in Nairobi Kenya has declared abortion illegal in the country after petitioners sued Director of Medical Services for reversing guidelines on performance of safe abortions.
In a ruling released on Wednesday, June 12, a three-judge bench, however, addressed that the exercise can only be undertaken if the given pregnancy endangers the life of the mother.
A mother of a 15-year-old who died as a result of risky abortion and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) had collectively filed an application seeking reinstatement of secure abortion guidelines suspended by DMS.
Judges Mumbi Ngugi Aggrey Muchelule, John Mativo, George Ondunga, and Lydia Achonde ordered that the department violated the Maputu Protocol which Kenya is a signatory to.
The obligation allows abortion for mothers who get pregnant as a result of sexual violence or rape.
Mativo who was first to read his sentence, said abortion was illegal and shall remain so in Kenya.
“There is no abortion on demand. It must occur within the provisions of the Constitution like when the life of the mother is in danger,” The judge observed.
According to the Constitution, a qualified medical practitioner can procure an abortion.
Article 26 (4) of the Kenyan Constitution states that abortion is permitted in the opinion of a qualified health professional, there is a need for emergency treatment or the life or well-being of the mother is in real danger, or if permitted by any other written law.