It was only 19 months ago that Kenya was changed forever by a new constitution allowing for the destruction of unborn life. Many Kenyans, and many Americans, still do not understand what has happened to our country. But pro-life organizations, including Human Life International (HLI) Kenya, are doing our best to educate and empower people to make a difference in the fight for life.
The twelfth annual Universities and Colleges Pro-Life Conference took place at St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre in Nakuru, Kenya February 24-26, 2012. Attracting 44 young pro-lifers from colleges and universities across Kenya, the conference focused on strengthening moral values and fortifying the pro-life movement in our country.
The students who attended the conference work to promote life on their campuses. Each group represented was granted an opportunity to present a report to the rest of the attendees. The reports highlighted the major activities conducted during the year, challenges faced and mitigation strategies employed. Many shared that pro-life clubs continue to attract more students. But it was also observed that much still has to be done in our universities and colleges as pro-abortion groups are now taking advantage of the laws that fail to protect the unborn to advance their anti-life agenda.
A number of inspirational and informational presentations were given by several of Kenya’s pro-life leaders.
One presenter spoke about Faithful House, a family life educational program in the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi. Today, many families in Kenya are facing a myriad of social and economic challenges which continue to weaken the family as an institution. Media reports tell a story of deplorable conditions and insurmountable odds for Kenyan families. Family break-ups are rampant – fueled by moral decadence, continued attacks on the family institution and the abandonment of African moral values.
Faithful House teaches that marriage must be built on a foundation rooted in our Christian faith, and founded on God. Families must share in true sacrificial love, be faithful and open to life, learn to respect and treat each other with dignity and establish effective communication. This presentation also highlighted the impact of HIV/AIDS in the society and how it affects marriages.
The Faithful House presentation was complemented by a session on Natural Family Planning (NFP). The Kenyan government, through the Ministry of Planning and Development, has embarked on an elaborate and comprehensive plan of promoting artificial and modern means of family planning, including widespread contraceptive use, to slow population growth in the country. A 2009 National Housing & Population Census report from the Kenyan government claims that current population growth rates are unhealthy, especially in supporting the realization of the Vision 2030, a government program designed to produce what it calls “a globally competitive and prosperous Kenya.”
“Currently, Kenya is adding one million people yearly to its already high population,” the census report stated. “This high rate of population growth has adverse effects on spending in infrastructure, health, education, environment, water and other social and economic sectors.”
More and more women in marriages and young ladies of reproductive age continue to report cases of medical complications as a result of using contraceptives and other artificial means of family planning. Through God’s grace, HLI Kenya was recently able to open an NFP clinic in Nyeri to help these women.
Despite efforts by various pro-life and religious groups to keep abortion out of Kenya, infiltration of the anti-life culture eventually did succeed in legally permitting the practice. And yet just last week, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga told the people, “[A]bortion was not permitted under the new Constitution.” We know that his claim is false, however, since activists are already exploiting the new constitution to expand legal access to abortion.
The debate around this topic is still very emotionally charged in the country, thus, it is paramount to continue creating awareness among the members of the community on new developments on issues around the abortion debate. The ambiguity with which the constitution was drafted and passed continues to create more loopholes and complicates the situation, which will further liberalize the practice of abortion.
U.S. Representative Chris Smith explained the situation this way during a presentation in Washington, D.C. in January:
The Kenyan constitution was rewritten, and sadly and regrettably because of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton they now have abortion for ‘health’ written right into their constitution. How did that happen? Eighty-three nongovernmental organizations getting $61.5 million totally non-transparently [from the United States]. … We now know that the NGOs were the ones who suggested to the makers of the constitution, a non-legislative special committee that was formed, that they should not allow the unborn child to enjoy personhood. … We lost Kenya here in Washington.
I agree with Rep. Smith, and have expressed in the past that the Obama administration greatly influenced passage of the constitution.
Our conference presentation on the new constitution highlighted important clauses that affect the right to life for the students in attendance. We also discussed how the anti-life groups have succeeded in conquering the legal arm in the country, and may now have their agenda passed with ease. Questions on moral ground have arisen over some of the new members of the Kenya Judicial Service Commission, and evidence indicates leniency towards the pro-abortion position, and association of some members with anti-life groups, including support for gay and lesbian rights.
In addition, legal regulations of the medical profession also provide freedom to the practitioners to pass judgment on the state of health of the mother and prescribe abortion.
Now that we are aware that abortion is legal in Kenya, we must continue advocating for practices and courses which will facilitate a reversal of the attack on life, and influence champions behind implementing this process. It is especially important that we continue to educate and train young people about the anti-life agenda, and to embrace the moral teachings of God. We must dedicate ourselves to living out and spreading the Gospel of Life in order to overcome the destructive laws and culture threatening our future.