Kenya Doctors, Attorneys Work to Stop Pro-Abortion Provisions in Constitution
by Steven Ertelt
July 6, 2010
Nairobi, Kenya (LifeNews.com) — A group of doctors and attorneys in Kenya have filed suit in court to get the provisions in the draft Constitution that promote abortion removed. Kenyans head to the polls next month to vote on the constitution and pro-life and church groups are forced to oppose it because it would allow unlimited abortions.
Currently, Kenya is one of the majority of nations in the world that protects women and unborn children from abortions.
The litigants in the new lawsuit say Article 26(4) of the proposed Constitution does not represent the views of the people of Kenya and should be struck from the document before voters go to the polls.
They are asking the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court (IICDRC) to strike the language, according to a Capital FM report. They say the Committee of Experts (CoE) unlawfully ignored the recommendations from the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Constitution Review to come up with the provisions that would undermine Kenya’s pro-life laws.
The insertion of words not recommended by the PSC renders the constitutional process a nullity and it is imperative for the court to intervene, their petition read, according to the news source. The CoE exceeded its mandate when it purported to change clauses regarding the rights to freedom of conscience, religion and opinion by entirely drafting new provisions.
They are also worried the Constitution may be defeated because of the problematic abortion language, even though Kenyans are clamoring for a new constitution for other political reasons.
It will be unjust if the proposed Constitution is defeated only on the basis of abortion, they said.
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.
Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues director Marie Smith told LifeNews.com, Regrettably, this final draft contains some of the most deceptive and dangerous language on abortion ever seen in a constitution."
"It presents constitutional protection for the unborn child by acknowledging in section 26 on Right to Life that ‘Every person has the right to life’ and that ‘The life of a person begins at conception,’" she explained. However, the next statement completely reverses protection for the unborn by allowing abortion when in the ‘opinion of a trained health professional, 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.’
Smith continues, The reversal of previous policy on abortion- which required the opinion of two medical doctors who agreed that abortion was necessary for the life of the mother will likely open the door to abortion on demand if the broad US definition of health is used in Kenya.
Kenyan Christian Church leaders and the National Council of Churches of Kenya have led a campaign against the constitution over the pro-abortion provisions.
However, the Daily Nation newspaper reports market research firm Synovate released a poll showing 57 percent of Kenyans will support the pro-abortion constitution while just 20 percent say they will reject it.
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.
Scott Fischbach, the director of MCCL 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.
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 $2 million advocating the pro-abortion constitution in Kenya.
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