House Members Condemn Obama Push for Pro-Abortion Kenya Constitution

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 2, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House Members Condemn Obama Push for Pro-Abortion Kenya Constitution

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 2
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — With voters in Kenya heading to the polls on Wednesday to decide whether or not to support a new constitution that would also legalize abortion, members of Congress in the United States are speaking out against the Obama administration’s spending $23 million supporting it.

Growing evidence of U.S. taxpayer money spent on the controversial proposed Kenyan constitution vote, set for August 4th, drew sharp criticism from four Members of the House of Representatives this afternoon.

Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, and Chris Smith of New Jersey criticized the Obama Administration’s spending to influence the vote on the referendum through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

USAID has reported spending at least $23 million to promote the proposed constitution. The lawmakers questioned the legality of the spending, since current U.S. law bars funding to either advocate either for or against abortion, and the proposed document dramatically changes existing Kenyan abortion laws.

“In the run up to the August 4 referendum on the constitution—just like any other election— the United States and other interested parties have a profoundly important, but narrow role to play,” Smith said.

"And that is to ensure to the greatest extent possible that the referendum is free, fair and peaceful. Under no circumstances should the U.S. government take sides by supporting, facilitating and funding projects designed to identify and motivate votes for either side. Yet that is precisely what the Obama Administration has done," he said.

"And because the proposed constitution significantly alters existing abortion law in Kenya, expending U.S. taxpayer funds used in support of the “Yes” campaign is also illegal," Smith added.

Fortenberry, who like Smith is a member of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, noted that the U.S. should support Kenya’s efforts to secure democracy and a strong constitution, but U.S. aid must be legal.

“There isn’t a member of this body who doesn’t support strengthening Kenya’s governing capacity,” Fortenberry said. "I strongly support Kenya’s desire to build effective democratic institutions that promote the rule of law and human rights protections to safeguard against further violent incursions."

But he said any "support from the United States government needs to be unrelated to partisan provocation, and given within the boundaries of the law. Aspects of the United States’ advocacy involvement in the referendum seem peculiar.”

Pitts added that U.S. law very clearly prohibits the federal government from using federal funds to lobby for or against abortion.

“This Administration appears to have disregarded current law and is instead advocating for the ratification of a proposed constitution in Kenya that will expand access to abortion,” Pitts said.

“The Inspector General for USAID has provided information showing that the U.S. Government is spending over $23 million for activities in Kenya that are intended to influence voters to pass the proposed constitution," Pitts explained. "The IG’s report explicitly shows that organizations have been receiving federal grants for the purpose of registering “yes” votes for the referendum.”

Franks focused on President Obama’s strong advocacy of abortion around the world.

"One of President Obama’s very first official significant acts was to send American taxpayers’ money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries. And now the administration is illegally spending millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money overseas to change the pro-life constitution of Kenya to one that will facilitate the killing of still more unborn children," he said.

"Obama has become the abortion President, and his administration has now become the most dangerous enemy unborn humanity faces in the world today. It is a disgrace that beggars description," Franks continued.

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.

Joseph Meaney of Human Life International weighed in on the constitution saying it violates the views of most Kenyans who are pro-life.

"Kenyans are pro-life," he said. "When we see the new articles added to the constitution and approved by parliament under heavy pressure from Western elites, we are seeing an assault on the very heart of the Kenyan people."

"Perhaps the greatest insult is that this attack is happening under the banner of ‘improving women’s health’. The only ones who believe that killing an unborn child is good for a woman’s health are those who will profit from the slaughter, Western powers who are pouring untold millions of dollars into measures to keep Africa’s children from being born," he told

"This is nothing but population control, an imperialist assault intended to rob Africa of its future by eliminating her children. It is a disgrace," he said.

A poll conducted March 21–26 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

"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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