A truly shocking report crosses my desk. It tells of the death toll and injuries in Kenya from unsafe abortion. It talks of schoolgirls of 13 and 14 who sell themselves for sex to support their families or are raped, who become pregnant and then die from bleeding or infections after an illegal backstreet abortion - which they seek because they don't want to be thrown out of school.
Unsafe abortion claims the lives of thousands of Kenyan women each year. Their deaths are entirely and easily preventable. Yet the Kenyan government has done little to address the problem. Kenya's abortion fatality rates are substantially higher than in the African region as a whole and more than nine times higher than for developed regions. In Kenya, 35% of maternal deaths are attributable to unsafe abortion. These deaths are a direct consequence of Kenya's abortion law, one of the most restrictive in the world.
The report, In Harm's Way:the impact of Kenya's restrictive abortion law, comes from the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights. Kenya's law has not stopped women having abortions, it says - it has only made them more dangerous. There are conditions under which abortion can be legal, but the report describes "a maze of misinformation as well as personal, financial, and bureaucratic barriers, due to the stigma, lack of legal clarity, and prohibitive costs surrounding the procedure."
The Center says this is a violation of human rights. "Our report is a story of unbelievable cruelty. In Kenya, a young woman is barely educated about her sexual and reproductive health. Her odds of becoming a victim of sexual violence and becoming pregnant are remarkably high. But if she gets pregnant, she can't get an abortion without risking her life," says its president Nancy Northup. "It's time that the Kenyan government at the very least follow its own laws and policies by walking the walk making sure women have access to the care that is legal and moving towards a future in which women can access safe abortion."

Abortion laws kill Kenyan schoolgirls | Society | guardian.co.uk