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Kenya Court Ruling Could Have Affect on Abortion, Vote on New Constitution

 

Steven Ertelt
Editor

LifeNews.com
5/25/2010

   
 

Nairobi, Kenya (LifeNews.com) -- A ruling by the Kenya High Court on an unrelated issue could have an effect on the August 4 vote on a draft constitution that church leaders oppose because it essentially legalizes unlimited abortions. The court declared the inclusion of Kadhi courts in the current law unconstitutional.

That decision has prompted Kenyan Christian Church leaders and the National Council of Churches of Kenya to step up their campaign against the constitution over the pro-abortion provisions.

The KBC indicates the judges, sitting as a constitutional court, said the decision to include the Kadhi courts in the draft constitution elevated Islam over other religions. Their 114-page ruling held that the courts can't expand beyond the 10-mile strip where they were originally set up.

Bishop Gerry Kibarara responded to the ruling by calling for the Kenya parliament to go back into session to address the courts and the abortion issue with changes to the proposed constitution.

"We wish to state that the Christian church in Kenya has engaged in this process seeking justice for all Kenyans" Kibarara said, according tot he KBC. "It is still not too late for Kenyans to resolve the contentious issues in the draft constitution before the referendum."

But former Justice Minister Martha Karua said the court ruling doesn't apply to the constitution and applies only to the old draft in 2005 that Kenyans defeated at the polls.

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.

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 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.

Note: The Parliamentary Network of Critical Issues is non-partisan global outreach of Gospel of Life Ministries.

   
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