News

US cuts Sh200m to Kenyan clinic over abortion tips

teen

Desperate to terminate unwanted pregnancies some women and girls go to “curtain clinics”. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) has been forced to close one of its 14 clinics and curtail services at others due to US funding cuts amounting to Sh200 million.
  • The loss of aid is leading some pregnant Kenyans to resort to unsafe measures.

Kenya’s longest-established family planning clinic has lost 60 per cent of its budget for defying a Trump administration policy forbidding women’s health providers from offering information or services related to abortion.

Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) has been forced to close one of its 14 clinics and curtail services at others due to US funding cuts amounting to Sh200 million ($2 million), Washington-based National Public Radio (NPR) reported on Wednesday.

The loss of aid is leading some pregnant Kenyans to resort to unsafe measures, FHOK reproductive health nurse Melvine Ouyo told the US radio network.

Desperate to terminate unwanted pregnancies, these women and girls go to “curtain clinics” — clandestine settings that lack trained doctors and nurses, Ms Ouyo said.

Others use crochet needles, added the nurse who works at a clinic in Kibera.

READ: Testing of foetuses taking root in Kenya

As an example of the help FHOK provides, Ms Ouyo cited the case of a young orphan girl whose uncle had repeatedly sexually abused her.

When the girl became pregnant at age 13, she was determined not to give birth to a baby that would be the product of incest, Ms Ouyo related.

“This girl comes to you suicidal,” the nurse told NPR. “She had already attempted unsafe abortion. She had taken herbs given by friends. Her friends referred her to us, and she was able to access safe abortion services.”

Mr Trump and other Republican presidents dating to the 1980s have used the so-called “gag rule” to spread their anti-abortion policies to developing countries.