Kenya Parliament OKs New Constitution, No Protections for Unborn on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
April 1, 2010
Nairobi, Kenya (LifeNews.com) — The Kenyan Parliament approved the new constitution the nation has been debating and it affords no protections for unborn children on abortion. This version of the constitution will now go to a vote of the people in Kenya in July and pro-life advocates are hoping they will reject it.
As LifeNews.com reported, the first draft of the newly-proposed Kenya Constitution protected the lives of unborn children from conception.
However, changes made to the document weakened those protections and are drawing opposition from pro-life advocates and Catholic Church leaders.
Before the vote, the World Congress of Families today had urged the Kenya government not to abandon the unborn by adopting language that would facilitate abortion.
"On the one hand, Section 26 states that every person has a right to life, and that life begins at conception," WCF communications director Don Feder told LifeNews.com.
"However, this is totally negated by the next section, which allows abortion when, in the ‘opinion of a trained health professional (not necessarily a physician), there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law,’" he said.
Groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights are urging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to push this abortion loophole on Kenya, Feder noted.
"An exception to a ban on abortion for the ‘health of the mother’ is virtually abortion-on- demand. You can always find an obliging ‘health professional’ — including mental-health workers — who will certify that any condition would endanger a woman’s health unless a pregnancy is terminated," he said. "That’s the way mother’s-health exceptions work in the United States, and why pro-lifers have fought them so hard."
Meanwhile, a poll conducted March 2126 by the polling firm Synovate, formerly known as Steadman, shows the citizens of Kenya are overwhelmingly pro-life.
Thinking about abortion, which of the following is closest to your view? the firm asked respondents.
Some 69 percent of Kenya residents are against legalizing abortions while just 9 percent support it. Another 16 percent say it doesn’t matter while 6 percent said they had no opinion.
Answering the question, When do you believe human life begins? 77 percent of Kenyans stated that life begins at conception, while 19 percent stated that human life begins at the time of birth.
Respondents were also asked about their views concerning the new Kenyan Constitution and the question found only 19 percent support it as currently written, while a majority, 52 percent, want Parliament to revise the document before passage.
Scott Fischbach, the director of MMCL Go, an international pro-life outreach, provided the polling results to LifeNews.com.
"Currently, advocates of abortion are using the issue of maternal mortality and illegal abortions to argue for legalization of the procedure. However, the answer to illegal abortions and high maternal mortality rates is very simple: provide hope, opportunity and support for pregnant women by insuring a clean water supply, clean blood supply and adequate health care," he said.
"Kenya is a pro-life country and ought not to head toward an abortion-on-demand policy in its new Constitution," he added.
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