In a new video interview, Father Raphael Wanjohi, the director of Human Life International Kenya, a pro-life organization, says the effect of the new Constitution the nation adopted is that legalized abortion has expanded quickly. Wanjohi says the Obama administration — and Obama himself — is responsible for the adoption of the Constitution that resulted in allowing two abortion businesses to expand their reach into Kenya.
HLI distributed the new video today and below is a transcript of the interview:
Q: How has life in Kenya changed since the new constitution was approved one year ago?
Fr. Wanjohi: Yeah, there was this new, a referendum, a new constitution which had to be approved. And the Catholic Church, and most other churches were not in favor of it because of some sections that were to be rectified or to be adjusted or to be rephrased before the constitution. But we worked harder to see that, and especially this one, was very much on abortion. Then, it started very well, “abortion is not legal.” But somehow, along the line came, It’s not legal except when the health of the mother is in danger. Then wanted to know, “what does that ‘health’ mean?” Because health does not mean death. Health may mean one is having headache, or one is having really stomachache. One feels the weight is going on. So that needed, in theory to be really clear because the Church has felt that the sanctity of life is very, very important. But, we had a lot of money from America, more than twenty-three million dollars, which were really poured in to make sure that that constitution—has to pass through that referendum.
Q: Did the referendum make abortion legal in Kenya?
Fr. Wanjohi: One can say, okay, formally it is not legalized, but when you look at the constitution itself, it is legalized. It is legal. Because a woman can just go and say, “I don’t want really this baby because it’s affecting my health.” And that’s, that’s automatically now. Abortion is legal in Kenya.
Q: What does this mean for the Kenyan People?
Fr. Wanjohi: It’s a sad story. It’s a bad day for them because it means now we have seen the mushrooming of Marie Stopes now, where they were not there before. Now they are there in small towns carrying on with the abortion of the girls – high school girls, whatever they are because they say it’s affecting my health. It’s going to affect my education. What’s really to do? So now nobody can really chide them now. Doctors, the abortionists, have the free hand to carry on with the abortion.
In America we have Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood here which was started—but on the other hand we have Marie Stopes, which was like Margaret Sanger here in America. So Marie Stopes in Great Britain. So we have the British who are Marie Stopes—it’s the same philosophy. It’s very much for abortion for the poor. Abortion has really to be encouraged to make people really progress, free of charge. Free. They don’t pay, provided they are going to go for abortion. Now before that was very much limited, they would not be able to do it, but now with this constitution they have started going out.
And now where we are working, where our headquarters is, they just came about now after constitution was approved. Now they’re already there with a big clinic carrying out their work of abortion.
Q: Do the Kenyan people understand what really happened with the passing of the referendum?
Fr. Wanjohi: Ordinary people do not understand what it is. No. Very few understand, even those, very few. Unless one is a lawyer he does not understand. That’s why we had to go to have civic education. Like my office went…to educate the priests and then to educate really the catechists and those people involved. And also the Protestants really did the same, and we did, but eventually there’s no way you could go because on the other hand, the government was really advocating, and especially America.
The ambassador of the United States was really very much for the referendum, was campaigning. Which is unusual for any, really diplomat of another country to do, but that one could do in Kenya.
Q: What effect did the United States have on the referendum?
Fr. Wanjohi: United States, first of all the ambassador was really for it. Then the Vice President came. Then we had Congress people. Then we had more than twenty-three million dollars put over there. So it was so easy really to influence the people. Right away. And United States has a lot of effect on the people because people feel, “Okay, that’s America. Highly developed country.” Saying, “Maybe this is the right thing to do.” So that’s what went. And then, we had the women really educated, oh yes, felt that this what it should really be. It is.
And then, it would be very hard, the way the constitution really put the way it is, it would be very hard to change because it becomes the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is really protected says in case that has to change. You need to have another referendum. And then who will be able to pay for another referendum? It would be impossible for the country to do that. That means that will be there for, for life. Very hard to change it. Other laws can be changed, but not on the Bill of Rights.
Q: Did the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama is of Kenyan descent affect the referendum?
Fr. Wanjohi: Sure, President Obama having roots from Kenya, and even going around to where he comes from, sure, has great influence, a lot of it, on the people. And the people feel he’s doing the right thing for his people, for his ancestors, for his long line of [people]. So they felt that it had a great influence no doubt. It influenced a lot. It’s not like somebody else, another president from Great Britain or France or such, but this one having roots in Kenya, they felt he’s really doing the right thing for the country and for the people.
Q: What does Kenya’s referendum mean for the region and for Africa?
Fr. Wanjohi: The belief among many Western countries, even Mr. Obama the president, is that Kenya plays a very important [role]. That’s what they believe, and I think it is correct. In the whole of Eastern Africa in a country that if this succeeds in Kenya, they have succeeded in the whole of East Africa, Central Africa and other African countries. They fail in Kenya, then they will fail because Kenya has great influence among other African countries, that’s why they have worked day and night to say that they have succeeded.