Quote of the week

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by Cynthia Vukets on October 1, 2009

“You don’t need an unwanted pregnancy.”

- Dr. Regina Karega, executive director of Kenya’s National Commission on Gender and Development talks to me about abortion.

I’m interviewing Karega for a few articles and a colleague has fed me some questions for a piece she’s doing on post-abortion care in Kenya. The basic idea is that Kenya spends tons of money on healthcare for women who have had botched back-street abortions. It’s illegal here. So, my colleague wonders, would legalizing it save money and lives?

Dr Karega fairly firmly stated no. But this quote was too funny. Obviously there’s no need for a pregnancy that a woman chooses to abort. That’s why it’s called “unwanted.” This women’s studies professor and head of the government gender body also said she can’t be bothered to talk about gay and lesbian issues or the pornography industry’s harmful impact on women and children in the sex trade because people are starving in Kenya. That’s true. I imagine it’s being looked at by other government bodies. But the LGBT community is being persecuted and forced to live in the closet and hundreds of children are being trafficked to and from other East African countries to work in the sex trade and low-budget porn industry. Which commission exactly is supposed to look after them?