The Catholic Church withdrew from participating in the development of safe abortion guidelines because it believes termination of pregnancy is killing.
Doctor Stephen Karanja yesterday told a five judge bench that life begins at conception and that abortion is wrong.
Karanja who is also the chairman of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, was testifying in a case in which NGOs want the government to reinstate the guidelines for safe abortion.
Abortion remains illegal but Fida, the Centre for Reproductive
Rights and other NGOs want safe abortion allowed especially when the life of the mother is endangered.
They said the withdrawal was a
violation of women’s rights and the right of health workers.
Karanja told the court that his primary goal as a doctor is to ensure the life of both the mother and the baby during pregnancy.
“When a pregnant woman visits my clinic, I see two clients irrespective
of what stage the pregnancy is,” Karanja said.
He said there are normal and abnormal pregnancies. “Where abnormal pregnancy occur, such as ectopic pregnancy, it is no longer pregnancy
but a disease,” Karanja said.
to me is the termination of a normal pregnancy with the explicit objection of
killing the baby.”
Karanja however admitted that a baby can die “in a bid to save the mother’s life.”
NGOs wants the Health ministry compelled to allow health workers access medical information through trainings.
They also want them to develop skills in life-saving
abortion care and to be allowed to provide patients with accurate information.
NGOs said it is necessary that the ministry clarifies when health workers can provide safe and legal abortion services to protect women’s health and lives.
Christian Professional Forum, Catholic Doctors Association and the Attorney General have opposed the petition. The NGOs said reinstating the guidelines will curb the rising cases of botched abortions.