“I love life,” affirmed Domtila Ayoti, a retired early childhood educator. She was one of the key voices that spoke during a visit to the Maisha centre. These discussions took place in the Mbagthi Red room on Saturdays at 3 pm. The first, second and third meetings took place on July 16th, 23rd and 30th respectively.
Two of the speakers had seen the effects of abortion. Ram recounted a trip to a children’s home in the Kona Baridi area of Ngong town. There he met a child who hadn’t been aborted but was abandoned in the wild. The child picked up a habit of walking on all fours and eating food in an undignified way. For Domtila, she spotted an aborted baby in a thicket.
The need for support and another theme, culture, stood out during our get-togethers.
The need for Support
Speaking on the need for support; Andrew Ritho (RAM), our first speaker pushed us for answers on how to solve the problems of expectant couples without money. A few of us made attempts but RAM concluded that we should simply support our friends even if this means taking in the friend’s child.
In the second session an advocate of the high court, James Nyiha, came in. The advocate emphasized that a pregnant woman is carrying an individual person. A Kenyan is entitled to rights guarded in the constitution.
The lover of life, Domtila Ayoti, runs a pregnancy crisis centre, the Maisha centre. A pregnancy crisis centre/crisis pregnancy centre like Maisha exists to help women carry their babies to term. Discouraging abortion. The Maisha centre offers help to women up to 6 weeks after they deliver. Since she started keeping records, there have been 800 ladies at the home. The centre takes in 8 people at a time. Donors pay rent and volunteers from Chile support the women during birth. During their stay at the centre, the young women have classes in tailoring, yoga and dancing.
RAM linked the practice of abortion to an ongoing cultural war. A fight over the way in which we live our lives and think.
“Culture is all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism, and through artifice become fully human,” a german philosopher and jurist, Samuel Pufendorf made this statement.
“Culture is coded wisdom,” represented Wangari Maathai’s interpretation.
The similarities of disease and war were established. Death and Disorder.
“Disease breaks the unity of the body and eventually between body and soul
“War also breaks the unity of society and eventually between society and culture”
At the point where law and culture meet; James offered a legal point of view on the topic. Beyond maintaining that the baby is an individual, James reminded us that one of the rights Kenyans cannot lose is freedom from torture and degrading treatment.
Article 25 of the Constitution of Kenya provides that;
“…the following rights and freedoms shall not be limited;(a.) freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;”
Article 26 of the Constitution of Kenya provides that;
“(3) A person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the extent authorised by this Constitution or other written law.
(4) Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other law.”
Roe v.s Wade
The discussions spun off after the Supreme Court of the United States of America put an end to the right to an abortion on Friday, June 24, 2022. Roe v.s Wade refers to a ruling the Supreme Court made in 1973. It ruled that the constitution made abortion legal. Jane Roe is the name Norma McCorvey took on in the case against Dallas county district attorney, Henry Wade.
Below are two images from the Twitter account of one of the largest and oldest national anti-abortion movements in the United States of America, the National Right to Life Commission.
Below is a list of media that informed our discussions:
Also before you go, here are some other key points to note down.
“Don’t get distracted from things that really matter” – RAM
“Try to live a virtuous life” – James Nyiha
“Usiwache dame … tembea na yeye hatakama hauna doe” – – – “Don’t leave a girl alone, walk with her even if you don’t have money” – Maisha centre beneficiary
By Alphonce Wadenya.