Kenya Abortion, Constitution Opponents Killed, Injured in Weekend Explosion
by Steven Ertelt
June 14, 2010
Nairobi, Kenya (LifeNews.com) — Two explosions in the Kenya capital late Sunday killed a handful of pro-life advocates and others assembled for a rally against the pro-abortion draft constitution the African nation will consider in August. The violence is estimated to have injured another 75 people.
The violence has caused concern for both local pro-life campaigners and the foreign pro-life groups helping them educate people about how the constitution would open the nation to unlimited legalized abortion.
The explosions took place at a rally held to protest the constitution, and governmental leaders promised to hold accountable those behind the blasts.
"I want to say clearly that the government will do everything possible to get to the root of this incident. We must condemn this," Prime Minister Raila Odinga said, according to an AP report. "Kenyans can decide peacefully what they want."
But local church leaders, who are helping organize the No campaign because of the provisions changing the nation’s current pro-life laws, are not so sure.
They blamed governmental leaders who support the constitution of being behind the attacks.
"Having been informed over and over that the passage of the new constitution during the referendum is a government project, we are left in no doubt that the government, either directly or indirectly, had a hand in this attack," said a statement signed by the National Council of Churches of Kenya and 14 other churches and groups.
"Who else in this country holds explosive devices?" they asked.
William Ruto, the minister of higher education and the leading governmental official who is part of the No campaign, also condemned the attacks — calling them "the darkest hour of our nation."
"Innocent blood has been shed by people with evil desires, and we are calling upon the police to take action," Ruto said. "The decision of whether we are going to have a new constitution or not belongs to the people of Kenya, and they have the right to say this or not. Those of us who are saying `no’ have committed no crime."
The explosion took place in Uhuru Park, a large open-space park in the middle of Nairobi.
Hundreds of people were at the rally at the time of the attacks. They said the first blast took place at the back of the rally. The speaker at the time urged people to come to the front to get away from the explosion when a second blast took place.
Rally participants were praying at the time the explosions occurred.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Kenya last week and didn’t endorse the pro-abortion constitution but lent his support to the government and the process.
Knowing the Catholic Church and Protestant churches are opposing the constitution because of the pro-abortion provision, Biden said, "As you prepare to write a new history for your nation, resist those who try and divide you based on ethnicity, or religion, or region and above all, fear."
American lawmakers are seeking an investigation into the Obama administration to determine whether it violated federal law that says taxpayer dollars can’t be used to lobby for abortion in other nations. The Obama administration has reportedly spent $10 million advocating the pro-abortion constitution in Kenya.
Obama himself has urged support for the constitution.
Last week, the grassroots organizers of the No campaign started their effort in earnest. Their effort to stop approval of the constitution comes after polling data shows a majority of Kenyans support it.
Tom Namwamba told the Capital News that the No campaign will begin on Wednesday with a large event at the Red Card Center in Upper Hill.
I can assure you powerful statements will be made on that day, he said. We want Kenyans to know that they are in the trap if they accept the new constitution. We want to get them out of that trap."
However, the Daily Nation newspaper reports market research firm Synovate released a new poll on Friday showing 57 percent of Kenyans will support the pro-abortion constitution while just 20 percent say they will reject it.
Approximately 19 percent of those polled still have no opinion or are undecided and four percent said they do not plan to vote.
A poll conducted March 2126 by 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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