Kenya is reconsidering its anti-abortion law, which dates from 1897. Abortion is common in Kenya but, mainly because it is illegal, many abortions are conducted in unsanitary conditions with serious risks to the mother’s health and even her life. A proposal by women’s rights groups in May, 2008 sparked a national debate. The Reproductive Health and Rights Bill 2008 was drafted by the Kenyan chapter of the Federation of Women Lawyers and the Coalition on Violence Against Women.
There is strong opposition to abortion in Africa–South Africa has been the only state so far to modernize its abortion laws, and now it has laws comparable to those in Western Europe. If Kenya manages this modernization in the teeth of opposition from the Roman Catholic church, great progress will have been made in emancipating women from the slavery of forced childbirth.