A Country Banned International Organization From Providing Abortions. Here’s Why

By Published on November 19, 2018

Kenya banned an international organization from providing abortions after it determined that the group was reportedly encouraging abortions and attempting to make them look “cool.”

“Marie Stopes Kenya is hereby directed to immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities within the republic,” reads a Nov. 14 letter sent from the Medical Practitioners Board to Marie Stopes, BBC News reported Sunday.

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In addition to ceasing offering any abortive services, the organization was directed to file a report each week detailing the health care services provided in its number of facilities for the next 60 days.

Marie Stopes Kenya has offered abortion services in the country since 1985. It runs 22 clinics and 15 mobile outreach clinics, according to BBC. Its Twitter handle reads, “Children by Choice not Chance.”

Based in London, Marie Stopes International “deliver[s] quality family planning and reproductive healthcare to millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women,” according to its Twitter. It is one of the world’s largest abortion providers, with over 12,000 employees in 37 countries, according to its website.

Kenya prohibits abortions except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger by continuing the pregnancy.

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The Medical Practitioners Board acted following complaints from pro-life group CitizenGo Africa’s campaign manager Ann Kioko and the Kenya Film Classification Board’s CEO Ezekiel Mutua among others, BBC reported.

Marie Stopes was running advertisements that had “not been approved by the board and … were almost making it look cool to have an abortion,” according to Mutua.

The international abortion provider has pushed back against the allegations. “At no point did we promote abortions,” Marie Stopes marketing director Christopher Wainaina told the Thomson Reuters Foundation Monday.

“Our media campaign talks about the legal status of abortion in Kenya, the stigma of abortion that exists and how it is leading to high numbers of women becoming victims of botched backstreet abortions and dying as a result,” Wainaina added.

U.S. President Donald Trump banned U.S. funding to foreign organizations that promote or provide abortions in a global “gag” on abortion funding in January 2017. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan first established the global gag rule in 1984. Following former U.S. President Barack Obama rescinding the policy in 2009, Trump re-established the policy upon taking office.

Marie Stopes International announced in January that it is facing an $80 million funding gap.

 

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