Doctor opposes life clause in draft

February 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – Experts say they are opposed to the inclusion of a clause in the draft Constitution stating life begins at conception, because it will have far-reaching implications.

Dr Joachim Osur, a Reproductive Health expert told Capital News that if left to pass, the clause may lead doctors to fear attending to women with pregnancy complications even when it is life threatening.

“If you put such a statement in the Constitution, it therefore means that when women come bleeding with spontaneous abortions they will be turned away because no one wants to be accused of murder,” he said.

In an interview with Capital News on Tuesday, Dr Osur said that “even when women come with ectopic pregnancies (because this has been given equal rights as any other human life), doctors will not treat them because they will say the ectopic pregnancy has rights like a human being, they will not treat them.”

Dr Osur said he prefers the recommendation by the Committee of Experts (CoE) which had stated that “everyone has a right to life.”

He said the best way to deal with the issue is to have the recommendation by the Committee of Experts included in the final constitution and an Act of Parliament enacted to deal with the details.

“The first draft by the CoE was quite fine according to us because what they said gives us room to go ahead after the Constitution is enacted to now develop a Bill, an Act of Parliament that stakeholders can give their input,” he said.

In such a situation, he said, churches, medical doctors and other players will have a chance to give their contribution to reach consensus.

Dr Osur who is also a member of a task force appointed by the Attorney General on Sexual Offence Act said the matter has generated a lot of concern from medical practitioners and experts who are mainly worried about the safety of women who may seek treatment as a result of complicated pregnancies.


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