US Withdraws Funding From Kenyan Clinics Providing Post-Abortion Care

Seven Kenyan clinics that provide post-abortion care and support safe abortion have been forced to close due to United States funding withdrawal. According to Nairobi’s The Nation, the Bush Administration withdrew approximately $1 million to the Family Planning Association of Kenya and to Marie Stopes International-Kenya for supporting international family planning services and the rights of women to obtain safe abortion and post-abortion care. Both organizations assert that they only provide post-abortion care in Kenya because abortion is illegal in Kenya.

The Nation reports that as many as 1,560 women, men, and children receive services every day from three of the clinics that were closed. In addition, a clinic that trained doctors and nurses how to implant IUDs and Norplant, improve HIV and STI counseling, and perform sterilizations was also shut down.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Minister of Health Charity Ngilu asserted that she would crack down on the people behind back-alley abortions, including qualified doctors and those she refers to as “quacks,” after 15 aborted fetuses were found near a river in Nairobi, Kenya on May 26. Joyce Ombete of Nairobi’s Maariga Women’s Movement said, “It is high time the government offered free abortion and post-abortion services in all its public institutions. By doing this, no woman will have to go to quacks discreetly, and the horrific May 26 incident will not have to happen (again),” reports South African’s Independent Online.

President George W. Bush reinstated the global gag rule on his first official day in office, January 22, 2001. The gag rule prohibits family planning programs outside the U.S. who receive US funds from using private, separate monies for abortion counseling, abortion services, and for providing information about abortions. The gag rule also threatens removal of much-needed funding for a whole range of reproductive and women’s health services. A recent report states that approximately 300,000 abortions are performed in Kenya each year, from which 2,600 women die from complications, reports Independent Online.

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The Nation Nairobi 6/3/04; Independent Online 6/604; The East African Standard 5/28/04

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