Uganda Vice President Says He Can’t Support Legalizing Abortion There

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Uganda Vice President Says He Can’t Support Legalizing Abortion There Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 22,

Kampala, Uganda ( — The second highest ranking official in the African nation of Uganda has said he doesn’t support the legalization of abortion there. Vice President Gilbert Bukenya’s comments come after a group of 10 leaders of African nations in June said their countries should allow abortions.

Representatives of Uganda attended the June conference, where leaders said abortion should be legalized because of claims of thousands of women dying from illegal abortions.

Responding to the call, Bukenya spoke at a Catholic church in the in Masaka District and said abortion contradicts the values of the African people. He spoke as leader of the Ngabi clan and discussed the unwritten laws that the people of Uganda have followed for centuries.

"The practice might be legal in some western countries, but we cannot adopt it here because our cultural norms are different," Professor Bukenya said.

"As a member of Parliament, I will definitely oppose any proposal to adopt such abnormal and immoral practices," he added.

Calls from other leaders to allow abortion appear to ignore evidence in industrialized nations that access to better health care, not abortion, reduces maternal mortality.

Catholic bishops in the southeastern African nation oppose abortion and highlighted that point.

"A state which legalizes abortion most definitely abdicates a very basic reason for its own existence," the bishops said in a statement.

The bishops said that it is "important … to note that abortion has never put an end to women’s social distress but that it simply adds a personal tragedy," adding that "there is no reason or motive that can ever objectively confer the right to dispose of another’s life."

While reducing illegal abortion deaths is the prime motivation for legalizing abortion, leading researchers say proponents are relying on faulty numbers.

Dr. Randy O’Bannon, Education Director for National Right to Life, has said that the number of illegal abortions in developing countries is likely inflated.

According to the United Nations World Health Organization, 68,000 women die annually due to unsafe abortions.

"The precision implied in such numbers is highly misleading," O’Bannon says. He adds that such figures "are based on meager data and a lot of assumption-laden extrapolations."

Many of these countries do not maintain detailed birth or mortality records, much less abortion statistics, making even the roughest of estimates problematic," he explained.

WHO also relies on what is calls "public source data" to provide illegal abortion death guesses. Typically, a "public source" is a journal article, report, or unpublished document, often from a pro-abortion organization, raising questions about its objectivity.

O’Bannon says these sources of information are unreliable.