Kenya Residents Support New Pro-Abortion Constitution, Polling Results Show
by Steven Ertelt
July 23, 2010
Nairobi, Kenya (LifeNews.com) — Two new polls released today reveal Kenya residents plan to support the proposed constitution on an August 4 vote. The constitution has become an international debate as the Obama administration has come under heavy criticism for spending as much as $23 million to support it.
The polling firm Synovate conducted a survey with more than 6,000 Kenyans and found 58 percent of those interviewed say they plan to vote for the constitution while just 22 percent said no and the rest were undecided or said they would not vote.
The poll also found just three percent of those surveyed worried violence would break out if the constitution is defeated, as happened the last time Kenyans rejected one at the polls. That appears to undermine some of the arguments government officials are using to request a Yes vote.
"The numbers are quite low, which therefore means that there is that level of tolerance of each other’s position," said George Waititu, the managing director of the polling firm, told AP.
The new poll also found abortion is the main reason Kenyans cited for potentially voting no — with 62 percent of those saying they will oppose the constitution naming abortion as the top reason.
Meanwhile, AP indicates a second poll conducted by the firm Infotrack with 1,200 people found 65 percent of Kenyans planned to vote Yes on the constitution and 25 percent said they would vote no, while the rest remained undecided.
Rev. Peter Karanja, the secretary general of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, told the Associated Press he thinks the numerous polls are part of the Yes campaign’s plan to pressure Kenyans to vote Yes. AP notes Infotrack is believed to be owned and operated by associates of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
"We really haven’t had objective polls published," Karanja said. "Even some of the companies that conduct polls have more than a casual relationship with some of the key politicians who would want to manipulate opinions. We have been on the campaign trail all over Kenya … and our impressions do not appear to relate in any way with the kind of figures we see published."
The results of the new surveys track with a prior poll conducted by Synovate in June showing 57 percent of Kenyans will support the pro-abortion constitution while 20 percent said they would vote No.
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.
Before the revised constitution can come into force, it must be approved by popular vote.
If Kenyans vote for the new constitution it won’t be because they suddenly support abortion.
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.
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