Kenya Draft Constitution Contains Protection for Women, Unborn on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
February 3, 2010
Nairobi, Kenya (LifeNews.com) — The new draft constitution in Kenya, a southeastern African country, protects the life of unborn children from conception. The move came after Christian leaders threatened to oppose the new constitution if it did not explicitly prevent any expansion of abortion.
The Parliamentary Select Committee put together the first draft and it contained no mention of abortion, but the National Council of Churches and Catholic Church noted a phrase saying "everyone has a right to life" but not saying when life begins.
Canon Peter Karanja of the NCCK told the IPS news service, "Life is sacrosanct. The definition of life must be stipulated in the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. Life must be defined as starting at conception and ending at natural death."
Language was added by the parliamentary committee saying human life begins at conception and it deleted language saying everyone has a right to health care and so-called reproductive services, which frequently is defined as abortion.
The panel also added language, according to IPS, opposing abortion "unless in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner the life of the mother is in danger."
Dr Otieno Nyunya, chairman of the reproductive health committee of the Kenya Medical Association, and Grace Maingi-Kimani, the acting executive director of Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya, complained about the changes.
But Scott Fischbach, the head of global outreach for the American-based pro-life group MCCL, told LifeNews.com that his group helped those involved in drafting the language.
"Our contacts in Kenya were the very first recipients of MCCL GO pro-life educational materials, which were enthusiastically received by the people. We have since sent more materials to help citizens understand fetal development, the humanity of the unborn child and alternatives to abortion," he explained.
Fischbach said he is "very pleased with the lifesaving decision of the Kenyan parliamentary committee to define the beginning and ending of life scientifically and not ideologically. If passed, this language will save the lives of countless unborn babies and their mothers."
He refuted the claims of opponents, who contend banning abortions hurt women.
"Despite the alarmist rhetoric of abortion advocates, research confirms that health care, not abortion, is the solution to maternal mortality in the developing world," he said. "When pregnant women have access to antibiotics, clean water, well trained doctors and good maternal care, maternal mortality rates plummet regardless of whether abortion is legal or not. Women need proper health care and support, not abortion."
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