Obama Admin Denies It’s Supporting Kenya Constitution Legalizing Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
July 7, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Even though a federal law prohibits the United States from spending taxpayer funds lobbying for abortion abroad, the Obama administration has essentially been supporting a new constitution Kenya residents will vote on next month that includes provisions that would legalize unlimited abortions.
Although the Obama administration has not officially endorsed the constitution, Vice President Joe Biden appeared in Kenya and supported it while taking great pains to not directly say so.
Biden told prominent Kenya government officials that passage will "allow money to flow" to the African nation.
"The United States strongly supports the process of constitutional reform. … Dare to reach for transformative change, the kind of change that might come around only once in a lifetime," he said. "If you make these changes, I promise you, new foreign private investment will come in like you’ve never seen."
Now, Fox News is reporting the Obama administration is denying it is officially supporting the pro-abortion Kenya constitution.
After publishing a news story compiling the developments over the last two months that LifeNews.com has chronicled, Fox News received a response from Biden’s office.
"Requests for comment sent to the vice president’s office were not initially returned, but following the original publication of this story, Biden’s press secretary, in an e-mail stressed that while in Kenya the vice president reiterated that it is up the people to decide about their country’s constitution," the television news station indicated.
And Rebecca Marchinda, director of advocacy for the human rights coalition World Youth Alliance, told FoxNews that the constitution does allow for abortion on demand because of the language in it allowing medical professionals to crtify abortions.
"A trained health professional could be anyone who has health training, including a student or a physical therapist," Marchinda said. "The provision is also broadly defined to include any kind of health, including psychological health or emotional health. Finally, this clause opens the way to create other laws that make abortion available on demand."
Members of Congress have been concerned about the Obama administration spending as much as $10 million in tax dollars on a campaign supposedly educating citizens of the African nation about the constitution and the approval process.
Lobbying for or against abortion is prohibited under a provision of federal law known as the Siljander Amendment annually included in the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act.
The amendment reads, “None of the funds made available under this Act may be used to lobby for or against abortion,” and violations are subject to civil and criminal penalties under the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. § 1341."
Rep. Chris Smith the leading Republican on the House Africa and Global Health Subcommittee, and two other members of Congress have called for a probe into the Obama administration’s spending in support of a campaign to get the pro-abortion constitution approved.
“This massive spending will undoubtedly be directed to those entities that are pressing for ratification of the proposed constitution. Such support will further enable passage of a constitution that is opposed by many pro-life leaders in Kenya, because it enshrines new rights to abortion. As such, the funding is a clear violation of federal law against use of U.S. taxpayer funds to lobby for or against abortion,” Smith explained.
He added, “Learning of significant additional U.S. donations gives even more urgency to our request for thorough and objective investigations into all State Department and USAID funded activities related to Kenya’s proposed constitution. I hope that all investigative agencies will take our request seriously and act swiftly in this matter."
Obama himself has promoted the new constitution in an interview in early June with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
He called voting for the document a "singular opportunity to put the government of Kenya on solid footing" and urged Kenyans to"take advantage of the moment."
Obama tried to couch his language in neutral impartiality, saying "Regardless of whether they vote Yes or No I just want to make sure that they participate,’ but he extolled the virtues of the document to the KBC saying it will promote human rights
And in May, US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger called on the African nation’s political leaders to rally the people to pass the referendum.
Ranneberger issued a statement praising the Kenya parliament for passing the proposed constitution and urging President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to rally support for it.
He also suggested the Obama administration would fund a national campaign to persuade the people to adopt the document.
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