The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has decried the country’s rising teenage pregnancy rates but insists that abortion and sex education proposals are not the answer.
The bishops’ announcement this week follows a nationwide study by Kenya Health Information Systems which found that more than 150,000 Kenyan girls aged 10-19 have become pregnant during the recent pandemic-related school closures.
Bishop Joseph Ndembu Mbatia of Nyahururu issued the statement on behalf of the bishops, saying that the country must focus during the pandemic on ensuring that children are protected against sexual exploitation, domestic violence, substance abuse, and poverty.
“We must protect our children against all forms of exploitation,” Bishop Mbatia said.
The statement said that the government should shelve its school sex education plans and demanded that the abortion bill currently in the Kenyan Senate be immediately withdrawn.
“We are totally opposed to those trying to introduce comprehensive sexual education in schools as a way of curbing teenage pregnancies. We are also opposed to the bill in the Senate on abortion,” the bishop said.
The bishops also called on the country to support people affected by the pandemic by not stigmatizing those who have had coronavirus and by helping bereaved families bury their loved ones in dignity.