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Kenya Hosts Top Reproductive Health Summit Amid Storm Over Abortion

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Kenya and the United Nations are hosting a global sexual and reproductive health forum amid opposition over abortion.

The Catholic Church is opposed to the Nairobi summit on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD 25), saying it is a ploy by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to advance their pro-choice agenda.

CONTROVERSY

World leaders, government ministers, financial institutions, donors and civil society groups from 169 nations are in Nairobi for the three-day forum which started Tuesday.

The meeting has been heavily criticised by the Catholic Church and some NGOs, who argue that it seeks to promote abortion.

The Vatican on Friday said it would not participate in the summit as the agenda had been reduced to sexual and reproductive health rights and sex education and did not take into account the views of all nations.

“The organisers’ decision to focus the conference on a few controversial and divisive issues that do not enjoy international consensus and that do not reflect accurately the broader population and development agenda outlined by the ICPD is regrettable,” said the Holy See in a statement.

During a panel discussion at the opening of the forum, Dr Gita Sen, a distinguished Indian feminist scholar and adjunct professor of global health and population at Harvard University, noted: “Even with the accomplishments there’s unfinished business … women’s right to bodily autonomy and integrity, including right to access safe abortion when needed.”

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