NAIROBI, March 17, 2004 ( – For $19.50 (US) Kenyan women can have an illegal abortion with Marie Stopes Kenya. The mother organization Marie Stopes International (MSI) is sponsored by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).  “They betray us,” Cyprian Awiti, the Programme Director of Marie Stopes Kenya (MSK), laughed when the Norwegian daily newspaper Dagen confronted him with what several sources had said about the illegal abortion activity of his organization. Awiti did not reject this statement of a central and secure source in MSK:  “We do abortions, but we don’t like to talk about it. We offer it, but it is not legal [here in Kenya].”  MSI works closely with UNFPA. Every year MSI in London is given almost $2.8 million by the UN fund. MSI, in turn, gives $221,000 every year to MS Kenya.  Moreover, there are several national MSI partners which receive money from UNFPA and other UN agencies, but neither MSI or their partners would inform Dagen about those funds.  The journalist from Dagen confronted MSK Director Awiti with a quote from the leadership of the Family Planning Association of Kenya (FPAK) indicating that women were sent to MSK for abortions.  “Did they say that? They betray us”, responded Awiti, shaking with laughter. “But FPAK also perform abortions,” he added.  Both FPAK’s and MSK’s illegal abortions are done by manual vacuum aspirators (MVA), under the cover name of “menstrual regulation.”  A nurse at an MSK clinic in the Kibera slums in Nairobi readily admitted to performing illegal abortions.  “Yes, we perform abortions here. I myself do it also,” she told Dagen.

The journalist asked if the nurse was not afraid of being arrested for the illegal abortions.  “No, I am not afraid. If they come here, I will only show them to the main office [at another address]; they have to go that way in order to visit the clinic here. And if they were to come here and ask questions, I would just say that I don’t perform abortions,” the nurse said, and went on to show the journalist the room where the illegal abortions took place.

Another MSK-employee told Dagen that they only risked arrest if the pregnant women died during the abortion.