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Year: 2009 Type: Article Language: English

Fewer than 40 per cent of Kenyan women use some sort of contraception, leading to unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Nearly 50 per cent of maternal deaths are linked with unsafe abortions and national law still criminalizes those involved in the provision of an abortion, holding a possible penalty of 15 years imprisonment if found guilty. In its mandate to promote sexual and reproductive rights, including safe abortion services, the Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance of Kenya planned a Mock Tribunal with the view of informing and engaging citizens, the media, policy-makers and advocates publicly on the negative consequences of the criminalization of abortion in Kenya. Over 400 participants gathered to hear testimonies from four women who had abortions, health professionals and counsellors. Though protests by pro-lifers tried to stop the event, participants insisted it continue. The Tribunal proved to be an effective forum to engage the public and stakeholders in issues including sexual violence, violence against women, socioeconomics and heath and reproductive rights.

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