Pro-abortion activists are worried that the Dobbs decision has energized the pro-life movement in Africa. A left-leaning news report states that while abortion is restricted across much of the region, countries that have expanded access are seeing a backlash. It quotes the program director for Ipas who believes that the “Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade has electrified Ethiopia’s anti-abortion movement, leaving the country’s landmark 2005 abortion law on shaky ground.” The Ethiopian law legalized abortion for broad social or economic grounds according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
During the last year, the pro-life movement is protesting the abortion law and “are targeting policymakers, health providers — anyone who might have a strong stake in sexual reproductive health services” according to the Ethiopia country director for MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International) who believes the current abortion law is “very vulnerable”.
In Kenya, pro-lifers are also “drawing on Roe’s reversal to challenge abortion policy”. Quoting a report about Dobbs’ global impact by the pro-abortion organization Fòs Feminista, the International Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice, (formerly known as IPPF Western Hemisphere). The report highlights a 2022 constitutional court decision that affirmed abortion as a fundamental right in Kenya’s constitution (under influence and pressure from international pro-abortion groups and foreign governments, including the United States.)
Pro-life advocates in Kenya are now arguing that the judge who decided the case relied on “bad law” from the U.S. when he cited Roe v Wade. That decision is now stayed, pending appeal. “The fact that it was entertained is really worrisome to many that are working on the ground in Kenya,” according to a ‘global advocacy officer’ for Fòs Feminista.
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In the Nigerian state of Lagos, the governor suspended policy guidelines about self-managed abortion less than a month after Roe was overturned. International pro-abortion organizations had been instrumental in the writing of the guidelines. The report states that pro-life advocates argued after Dobbs that the governor should follow the ruling’s lead and revoke the provisions and he did.
The good news is that the pro-life movement in Africa is encouraged and see the success in the U.S. as a possible model for restoring protection for the unborn in countries where there have been gains in access to the killing of unborn children. Meanwhile, pro-abortion activists see Dobbs as a warning. A representative for Fòs Feminista said, “For the longest time, Roe has been seen as a gold standard. And so the fact that this can happen in the U.S. is a very clear indication to some in the feminist movement in Africa that it can happen here as well. These gains can be lost over time.”
She believes that the pro-live movement is working strategically: “They’re not making mistakes. They are targeting big countries, countries with political influence and countries with very strong religious communities.”
LifeNews.com Note: Marie Smith is the director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.