Kenyan parents forcing their daughters to abort - Report
Most parents assume that once a child gets pregnant they will not have a full productive future.
The research was prompted by news last year when a 16-year-old girl, Hope Nyaboke, suffered kidney failure on both her young kidneys after an abortion that had been acquired by her own parents. The excess bleeding as a result of a botched abortion led to her organ failure.
In Kenya, abortion is considered a crime under the Constitution Article 26(4) The Penal Code, Laws of Kenya. And according to experts included by one of the local dailies, the major reason why parents would let their children undergo such a dangerous and illegal practice is their strict belief in upholding societal expectations.
The deadly power of shame
A psychologist at Phoenix Training, Wandia Maina, says that the main reason behind parents procuring abortions for their daughters is to avoid the embarrassment that comes with such 'scandal' from society and the girl's peers.
“Most parents assume that once a child gets pregnant they will not have a full productive future and so they encourage them to abort to achieve a successful life."
She terms it as a selfish act of parents who put the society first before their children.
Founder of Pearls and Treasures Trust, a support group that addresses sexuality issues such as crisis pregnancies, Akech Aimba, puts a twist on the story where mothers procure abortions for their daughters without their husbands; knowledge. She says, "When a mother or vice versa realizes that the girl is pregnant, they ensure the procedure is discreetly done to save the family from embarrassment."
She determines that the selfish act by parents comes with high physical and emotional costs.
According to her, undergo post-traumatic stress syndrome where they grieve their loss while parents only care about what the society thinks.
For the now 17-year-old Nyaboke, this means a lifetime of kidney dialysis or a new kidney, both of which are extremely costly.
Getting pregnant again
Akech also says that in the long run most of these girls, out of anger and regret for their loss, get pregnant again to replace the lost child.
"They are angry because they were forced to abort yet they could have kept the pregnancies and continued with their lives. Later when these girls understand that they were forced to abort, some end up becoming pregnant again to replace the lost child."
Akech believes that the answer to this plight would be parents surrounding themselves with friends and family who will be supportive that will help the girl lead their healthy pregnancy into the life of motherhood and later on resume school.
Afterall, Mtoto huja na sahani yake.
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