Number of backstreet abortions increases in Kenya with Trump’s aid cuts

Kibera slums [Reuters]

The number of backstreet abortions has increased since the U.S cut funding to non-governmental organizations offering family planning services in Kenya.

Women in need of the services can no longer get them at the convenience they earlier enjoyed, resulting to seeking alternative, but dangerous backstreet abortions.

In Kenya, Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK) and Marie Stopes International are among a battery of non-governmental organization offering the family planning services that have their aid cut by Donald Trump’s administration.

Among those affected is Dija, a young woman from Kibera. She used to get contraceptives at FHOK for free but it now costs her Sh400.

She can get them at the local pharmacy for about Sh300 but she says they are often expired or unsafe. Dija got expectant with her third child in October.

Petrified by this, she sought for abortion pills from a backstreet clinic in Kibera where she coughed up Sh1000, further straining her finances.

“I couldn’t give birth because my husband is not supporting or helping me, so I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I thought that was the best option,” she said in an interview with CNN.

A month later, she was still bleeding.

Clinician Wilson Bunde who works with FHOK said women like Dija who previously got free family planning services have been forced to seek it from backstreet clinics and put their lives in danger.

FHOK got its aid from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

IPPF is a global provider of sexual and reproductive health services. With the refusal to sign up to Trump’s policy, it stands to lose up to $100 million in USAID.

IN the informal settlements like Kibera, women are turning quacks to get abortion services in light of the hard times facing FHOK and Marie Stopes.

One of the practitioners who requested not to be named for fear of prosecution told CNN that she treats women who are between six and seven months pregnant.

She uses a needle to perform the risky procedure where she punctures the woman’s amniotic sac, forcing out the fetus out of the uterus.

School girls and unmarried women are a huge part of her patients.

Elizabeth Wanjiru, a health worker in Kibera said that the aid cut has led to increased cases of backstreet abortions.

“This is why you will find babies aborted, due to lack of access to family planning,” she told CNN.

A recent report published by Africa Health Population Research in partnership with the Ministry of Health indicated that backstreet abortions cost the government $6.3 million in 2016. The number is expected to rise with Trump’s policy.