Reproductive rights: Kenyan doctors urge Biden to scrap ”global gag rule”

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By Rédaction Africanews

Sofi Mukwana is a Kenyan mother of four, who’s been trying to embark on a 5-year family planning method, but has been unsuccessful due to the cost.

Because of this, the 29-year old has been feeling drained. Mukwana wants the new US President Joe Biden to bring back Obamacare to help women like her to plan their families.

“You may have wanted your children to follow each other in a certain rhythm. And because there are no funded family planning options, you find that it is very difficult to go for over the counter options because they are very expensive. So in that case, you get undesired children, which ends up with challenges of feeding and maintaining a healthy family’’, Mukwana said.

Kenya used to receive 95 percent funding from the U.S government for its sexual and reproductive health organizations.

When former president Donald Trump’s administration re-imposed the ‘’global gag rule’’, funding was then restricted.

Doctors in Kenya are hoping new US President Joe Biden, a pro-choice supporter, will help aid their reproductive healthcare.

“The global gag rule which was reinstated by Trump should be scrapped off. Because Obamacare offered affordable family planning services. And basically a family that is well planned meets all its basic needs, and that’s what we want”, Dr. Victor Odhiambo, Clinical Officer of the Elmo Premium medical clinic said.

Mukwana is very against abortion due to her religious beliefs. But she said she never wanted her children to be born so close together.

This local pharmacist Betty Mulinge says girls as young as 10 have been reaching reproductive age and visiting her for assistance.

“…Most of those young children do not have any money to buy the drugs. But they really want the information. And we have seen so many of them later come to ask about how they can get rid of the pregnancy. Because they already feel they need to have sex, they know how to protect themselves but they cannot afford. So we are also hoping that Obamacare will cater for such a young age because it is something that we need to start talking about now”, Mulinge said.

Although abortion is illegal in Kenya, nearly half a million abortions occur every year, according to Dr. Jorma Ojwang, a pharmacist operating in Kenya’s biggest slum, Kibera.

Most of these abortion procedures are done in unsafe rooms and are largely conducted on teenage girls.