Barack Obama Praises Kenya’s Draft Constitution Allowing Unlimited Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama Praises Kenya’s Draft Constitution Allowing Unlimited Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 3
, 2010

Nairobi, Kenya ( — President Barack Obama has come under fire from pro-life members of Congress for his administration potentially illegally spending as much as $10 million promoting the new pro-abortion constitution in Kenya. Now, in a new interview, Obama himself carefully urged Kenya residents to support it.

Obama officials were thought to have spent $2 million but Rep. Chris Smith says that figure could exceed $10 million.

A new interview conducted Tuesday with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) has Obama actively promoting the constitution, which would have the effect of overturning the nation’s pro-life laws that prohibit most abortions.

Although the draft contains language advocating the right to life for unborn children, it contains a section with a health exception that essentially opens the nation to unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason.

The KBC indicated Obama said Kenyans should take advantage of the chance to vote on a new constitution this August and that supporting it would allow Kenya to become an African powerhouse.

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 also talked about plans to visit Kenya and said he was dispatching pro-abortion Vice-President Joe Biden to Kenya to grow support for the pro-abortion constitution.

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.

"People are frustrated" about problems such as violence and governmental corruption — reasons backers of the constitution are promoting it — and "This is an opportunity to fix many of these things,’ Obama said.

Biden is scheduled to visit Kenya next week to, as the KBC reports, "convey his support for the constitutional process."

Obama promised that he would visit Kenya "before my service as President is complete," but did not say if that would come before the vote on the new constitution later this summer.

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.

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."

“This week I learned that U.S. taxpayer expenditures in support of the proposed constitution may exceed $10 million—five times the level we originally suspected," Smith said last week.

“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."

As reported, US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger called last month on the African nation’s political leaders to rally the people to pass the referendum.

Smith authored the May 6 letter with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee.

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.

“Kenya’s current constitution includes no reference to abortion and abortion is not legally permitted in Kenya except to save the life of the mother," the pro-life Republican lawmakers said.

They added that “any expression of support for or opposition to the proposed new constitution (including by drafting, offering technical advice or providing foreign assistance of any kind that is designed to influence public approval in the upcoming plebiscite) unavoidably involves lobbying for or against abortion."

The letter went to Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the U.S. Government Accountability Office; Harold W. Geisel, Acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General, and to; Donald A. Gambatesa, Inspector General of the U.S. Agency for International Development.


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