Abortion Stigma and Its Effect on Access to Justice: Jackson Namunya Tali v The Republic of Kenya


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On October 19, 2017, the Court of Appeal of Kenya acquitted Jackson Tali, a registered nurse who had been arrested in July 2009 and sentenced to death in September 2014 after a young woman with pregnancy complications died in his care.1 The prosecution alleged that Mr. Tali had been trying to assist the woman to procure an illegal abortion, and that this alleged botched abortion had led to the woman’s death. The Court of Appeal found that the investigating officer and the trial court, referred to an abortion theory that was unreasonable and unproven in Court to warrant the conviction and death sentence meted out to Mr. Tali. This case is important because health service providers should never be placed in a position in which they fear providing medical services to women seeking reproductive health services. Abortion stigma should not impact how disputes regarding the conduct of medical providers in the delivery of reproductive rights services are adjudicated.