Months after Marie Stopes clinics were closed in Kenya, Police in the Nigerian city of Lagos have also shut down an abortion center set by the NGO Marie Stopes, which provides abortions in several African countries, with the pretext of offering “reproductive health”. The operation was carried out on May 21st, 2019. The police operation takes place after the initiative started by the international platform CitizenGO, that launched an online signatures campaign, on May 2nd, in which it asked Nigerian authorities to revoke Marie Stope’s license, arguing that the NGO, headquarter in London, says on its own website that it has performed over 700,000 abortions to Nigerian women for 50 dollars. This campaign was supported by over 2,700 people.
In the crackdown, the police arrested the center’s employee, Doctor Bernard, “when he was going to perform an abortion,” according to authorities. In addition, many files and clinical materials were recovered, proving that the said center was performing abortions; an activity that’s illegal in the country unless the mother is in danger.
The reaction from the Marie Stopes’ ideological circles was not delayed, as the Nigerian feminist forum 9jafeminista blamed directly CitizenGO for the center shut down, and called it to end this “war on women” in which “hate-mongering and oppression” to Nigerian women is incited.
CitizenGO’s Campaign Director for Africa, Ann Kioko, has condemned Marie Stopes saying that “Abortion is murder, and illegal in Nigeria yet Marie Stopes is coming to Nigeria to break the law,” she also added that “Nigerians need to Wake up and realize the killers next door”. “Marie Stopes needs to have their license revoked immediately and their directors arraigned in a court of law for breaking the Nigerian Laws as well as participating in the murder of pre-born children and supplying contraceptives to children”, she concluded.
The Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board on 16th November 2018, ordered Marie Stopes clinic in Kenya to immediately stop offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities in Kenya.
Marie Stopes Kenya was blamed due to its advocacy for young girls to procure abortions under the guise of providing healthcare services in the country causing a public outcry. Marie Stopes Kenya works through a network of 22 clinics and 15 mobile outreach clinics, as well as their network of Amua clinics across Kenya. Some of the services offered by these clinics include:
i). Pregnancy crisis management
ii). Contraception and family planning
iii). Women’s wellness
Services for men
iv). Maternal and child health services
v). General health services