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Can I get an abortion If I have mental health condition?

By Mical Imbukwa
In Kenya, as is the case in many other countries, the topic of termination of pregnancy is a complex and sensitive issue that is often subject to legal, cultural, and ethical considerations.

While the Kenyan constitution permits abortion under certain circumstances, the question today is whether this includes mental health issues. It is, therefore, important to understand the legal framework surrounding abortion and mental health in the country.  

Kenya’s laws prohibit abortion unless, in the opinion of a trained professional, there is a need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.

However, the law does NOT plainly mention mental health as a ground for legal abortion.

Mental health and abortion

While Kenya’s laws don’t specifically mention mental health as a reason for legal abortion, it is essential to note that the mental health of an expectant woman can have a significant impact on their well-being. 

The World Health Organization recognises mental health as an essential aspect of overall health, and it is widely accepted that severe mental health issues can lead to physical complications and even endanger a person’s life. 

The Kenyan constitution permits termination of pregnancy when the life or health of the mother is in danger. Denying safe abortion services to a woman whose mental health is at risk could potentially be viewed as a violation of her right to life and good health. 

With reference to the legal basis outlined above, any woman in Kenya who believes that their mental health is at risk due to an unplanned pregnancy should seek the advice of healthcare professionals. Their mental health will be assessed, and an appropriate course of action will be recommended.

It is also advisable to consult with a legal expert who can provide guidance on navigating the legal aspects of your specific situation. If you are fearful or in doubt, seek support from a trusted adult.

Don’t allow your mental health situation to worsen due to fear of stigmatization. There is help. Share this article/message with your friends and relatives so that they, too, can learn, unlearn and relearn.

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