Kenya could introduce abortion up to birth, under radical Bill pushed by international abortion organisations

A Bill backed by major international abortion organisations, including Ipas and Planned Parenthood Global, which would introduce abortion up to birth, is currently progressing through Kenya’s Senate.

If it progresses past a Third Reading, the 349 MPs which make up Kenya’s lower house will debate and vote on the Bill’s fate. 

Abortion for any reason, on-demand, up to birth

The Termination of Pregnancy section of the Reproductive Healthcare Bill outlines that abortion would be available without a time limit on grounds that “the pregnancy would endanger the life or health of the mother”.

While this language appears to provide abortion on only narrow grounds, in practice it will likely allow for abortion on demand to be available up to birth in Kenya through a broad interpretation of the term “health”.

International NGOs such as Ipas, who are backing this Bill, have used a legislation change model in a number of other countries where they have lobbied for a law change, which in practice introduces abortion on demand, for any reason. 

This model involves firstly lobbying Governments to introduce new legislation with similar wording to that in the proposed Kenyan legislation. They have then placed themselves as key advisers on the roll-out of the new abortion service and associated standards and protocols across the country. In this position as a key adviser, they have then been involved with producing comprehensive guidance for the Government and healthcare providers which outlines that they must interpret language in the new legislation to allow abortion on demand.

For example, this model can be seen in operation in Ghana. In the current guidance on providing abortion services in Ghana it is not hidden that Ipas has been involved in writing the guidance, with the forward stating “This document has been put together by a team of national experts with technical assistance from Ipas and WHO, Geneva.“ 

The wording of the Ghanian legislation relating to abortion includes what appears to be similarly restrictive grounds for abortion “where the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman or injury to her physical or mental health”.

In the guidance, it specifically instructs healthcare professionals to take a very broad interpretation of what appears to be similar restrictive wording. 

“Mental health refers to a state of emotional, psychological and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease in matters relating to mental function… No psychiatric assessment is required in order to obtain a legal abortion…. A woman’s social circumstances may be taken into account in assessing the current and future risks to her mental health.” 

This guidance has in practice allowed abortion for any reason, on-demand. 

In Kenya, without a time limit in the proposed legislation, a similarly broad interpretation would allow abortion for any reason, on-demand, up to birth. 

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa has condemned the Bill for being “sponsored by [an] international organization”

‘Every human being deserves the right to life’

Speaking against the Bill, outside Kenya’s parliament buildings in Nairobi on 25 June, the lawmaker said: “life begins at conception and every human being deserves the right to life.” 

Chris Wamalwa has previously told ACI Africa: “The Bill must come to the National Assembly; we shall kill it there.” 

Three-year-jail sentence for doctors who conscientiously object

The proposed legislation also introduces a three-year jail sentence for any health professional that conscientious objects to being involved with providing an abortion and does not want to be complicit in the abortion process by providing a referral onto another health professional who will provide an abortion.

In a country where polling shows large majorities oppose abortion, this provision in the legislation forcing doctors to be complicit in the abortion process could have a very wide negative impact, forcing many health professionals to act against their conscience, or for a likely large group of health professionals who do not wish to be complicit in the abortion process, this would mean they face jail time.

According to a 2014 poll, conducted by Ipsos Synovate, 87% of Kenyans do not support abortion on demand. 

These attitudes are validated by another poll, conducted by Pew Research, which showed 82% of Kenyans believed abortion to be morally unacceptable.

Large cost to Kenyan Government

The Bill would also come at a large cost to Kenyan Government, as it specifically requires the outlay of national services providing ‘reproductive health care’ including abortion.

In addition to the financial cost, the Bill would place health services in Kenya, which are already operating under limited resources due to the coronavirus pandemic, under even more pressure at a time when they should be focused on saving lives.

In response to this pressure, and a call for more ventilators, the UK and Sweden dedicated more funding for abortion in Kenya and other African countries.

‘Ideological colonialism’

Pro-life campaigner, Ella Duru told Right To Life UK: “This is a brazen attempt by Western abortion organisations to impose abortion, for any reason, up to birth on Kenya.

“To have these well-funded overseas organisations spending lots of money to try and force abortion on Kenya when 87% believe it is morally unacceptable is a form of ideological colonialism.

“Cash rich donors from the West continue to exploit their privilege and position to offer abortion and family planning ‘services’ which are contrary to the pro-life values held by a large majority of African people.

“The Kenyan constitution, in Article 26, makes it clear that life begins at conception and should be protected under the bill or rights. 

“Given that this Bill would deny unborn babies the right to life right up to the point of birth, this appalling Bill must be defeated by MPs in the National Assembly. 

“If you are Kenyan please contact your local representative and detail that, rather than bring clarity to the constitution, this extreme Bill will introduce an extreme abortion law that is not in the best interests of Kenyans and the unborn.”

Kenyan-born Ann Kioko, who has launched a petition against the Bill, has previously spoken out on how abortion is pushed on countries in the developing world. Last year, the campaigner told delegates at the UN’s Protecting Femininity and Human Dignity in Women’s Empowerment event:

“Contrary to what the negotiators of some countries argue here or… push on countries in the developing world, a young girl in a village like mine…does not need policies that prioritize abortion. … It is time we brought the women in the grassroots to the table. They will tell you they don’t need abortion … to be empowered…

“(Women) need fully equipped health centers, they need good schools, they need clothing, they need food on their tables! They need electricity. And they need to be imparted with proper skills so they can be good career women. … I keep looking forward to that day the UN and those who are speaking and working for the women of the world will get the priorities of the women at the grassroots correct.”

Africa asks for ventilators during COVID-19, UK Govt sends abortion funds

While developing countries ask for ventilators and PPE, amidst the coronavirus crisis, the UK Government has given an extra £10 million to the UNFPA targeted at developing nations including a number of African countries which includes spending on abortion.

African countries are in desperate need of ventilators, personal protective equipment and basic medical supplies as cases of COVID-19 continue to grow there.

The United Nations projects that, even in the best scenario, the continent’s 54 countries with a population of 1.3 billion people, will need 30,000 ventilators this year.

However, recent reports claim there are only 2,000 ventilators across the continent and that ten nations have no ventilators at all.

The World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated that “the issue of ventilators is one of the biggest challenges that the countries are facing.” 

Despite this huge challenge, the UK Government has decided to divert some of the international development spending that could be directed to funding this vital equipment to instead spend on funding more abortions for developing countries.

In response to a question asked by pro-abortion MP Caroline Lucas, the Government revealed it has continued to fund abortions across the continent.

Lucas asked the Government, in light of the crisis, what steps they had taken to “work with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to secure the supply of reproductive health products and ensure that women and girls in developing countries continue to have access to contraception and safe abortion throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.”

In its response, the Government revealed that the UK has continued with its existing support to UNFPA, including the UNFPA Supplies programme (£425 million between 2020-2025), and it has given an additional £10 million to the UNFPA.

It added, the Department for International Development (DfID) is already working closely with UNFPA in “providing high quality family planning and essential life-saving maternal health medicines to those in need, including commodities required for post-abortion care and medical abortions where it is legal.”

The extra spending is on a UNFPA project called the Global Humanitarian Response Plan includes and will include the roll-out of abortion services through the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP). The MISP was developed through the Inter-Agecy Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises, of which the UNFPA and abortion giant Marie Stopes International are members. One of the MISPs five objectives is to provide abortions in response to a humanitarian crisis. 

The group claim not all benefactors of its aid need to provide what they call “safe abortion care”.

However, in the documentaries Killing Africa and Strings Attached, the founder of Culture for Life Africa, Obianuju Ekeocha, exposes how pro-abortion organisations sneak their agenda into Africa under the guise of family planning and maternal mortality reduction programmes.

Additionally, the documentaries reveal how the UK isn’t just funding medical abortions where it is legal, as suggested in its response to Caroline Lucas, but is also funding illegal terminations through its funding of abortion giant Marie Stopes International.

Jacqueline Gandi who worked at a Marie Stopes clinic in Kenya revealed to the Strings Attached documentary that illegal abortions were being performed in the country and being recorded as “post-abortion care”.

Financial statements for the company found in Companies House reveal that, since 2006, DfID has given over £300 million worth of taxpayers’ money to MSI, with over three-quarters of that total given between 2014 and 2018. This enormous increase has made DfID the single biggest donor to Marie Stopes International.

Obianuju Ekeocha has previously stated that not popular support among the general population in African countries for abortion to be legalised.

“The polls show overwhelmingly that Africans hate abortion, abhor abortion, both women and men.

“We have parliaments, we have different paths of legislature that can go through the process of legalising abortion – of passing a Bill, of making it law – but still the African countries continue to hold on to a particular view of the human person that life begins at conception.”

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“65% of the public oppose UK taxpayer money being spent on abortions overseas.

“Rather than continuing to support the pro-abortion lobby’s agenda, the UK Government should focus on assisting developing countries in getting the vital equipment it needs to save lives.”