The law in a nutshell
Before deciding to have an abortion, it’s important to be aware of what’s legal and what’s not – when it comes to abortion, there are huge legal variations from country to country.
Even when abortion is legal, that always doesn’t mean you can decide to have at any stage of a pregnancy. The limit varies, so in some countries you can have an abortion until you’re 28 weeks pregnant. In others the limit can be as low as 12 weeks.
In some countries, the law only lets you have an abortion in certain circumstances, for example if you have physical or mental health problems, or if you’ve been raped or can’t afford to look after the baby adequately, or there’s something wrong with the foetus.
In Kenya, 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 written law.
If someone performs an illegal abortion on a woman, they risk 14 years in prison. If you get caught trying to perform an illegal abortion on yourself, you can face up to 7 years in behind bars. Anyone who gives a pregnant woman the means to perform an illegal abortion may be imprisoned for three years.
Regardless of where you live, you can still get pills for a medical abortion from Women on Waves or sometimes the chemist. For more information, see our ‘abortion at home’ section. You can also get in touch with Women Help Women and Marie Stopes Kenya.