In Kenya, the Penal Code of 1973 allows abortion to save the woman's life. Because the legal system is based on English common law, the 1938 Bourne decision is used as a precedent to allow an abortion to preserve the woman's physical and mental health.
Two medical opinions are required, one from the doctor who treated the woman and the other from a psychiatrist.
Although official abortion statistics are not readily available, hospital studies have shown that illegal abortion is a growing health concern. Data obtained from hospitals throughout Kenya between 1988 and 1989 show that half of all gynaecological admissions were due to illegal abortions.
Abortions are relatively easy to obtain at private clinics, with prosecutions a rarity.
In 2001, some members of the Kenya's organization for obstetricians and gynaecologists, openly promoted liberalizing the law. This led to considerable public and professional debate, with the Government opting to maintain the status quo.