Stephen Phelan

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VIDEO: The Kenyan Referendum: One Year Later

Stephen Phelan

One year ago, Kenyans passed a constitutional referendum that was sold as the solution to the country’s widely acknowledged corruption and poverty. Without the knowledge of most Kenyans, however, the bill also had a stealth provision that essentially legalized abortion on demand.

It was advertised that the constitution protected the right to life of the unborn, and there is language in the constitution that codifies this principle. But what was not widely advertised was the qualifying language that population control advocates use in similar referendums around the developing world: There are exceptions for the “health of the mother,” which in practice can mean anything from a serious threat to her health, to anxiety about weight gain. Result: abortion without real restrictions.

Even worse, the referendum enjoyed not only nonstop advocacy from the United States ambassador to Kenya, but strangely, a visit from several Democratic US Congressmen and even Vice President Joe Biden, who said during one visit:

Putting in place a new constitution and strengthening your institutions and the rule of law will not only unleash the energy of the youth, deepen the roots of your democracy, and ultimately guarantee your security—it will also further open the door to major American development programs like the Millennium Challenge. There’s so much more we could do, and want to do, in partnership with you. It could provide millions of dollars in grant assistance to Kenya that you would know how to use well to build this great nation.

A parade of political leaders in the United States travel to an Eastern African nation to sell a substantial revision to its constitution, even going so far as threatening to hold out on financial aid should Kenyans make the wrong choice. People of all political beliefs used to be more suspicious of such heavy handed involvement in developing nations by the world’s lone superpower.

And it wasn’t only the US politicians’ curiously partisan advocacy that was a problem, but the fact that a US Inspector General discovered that the Obama administration had spent over 23 million dollars to give to pro-abortion groups for grassroots and other promotional efforts. The administration denied taking a side in the referendum, even while its surrogates gained lots of frequent flier miles en route to telling Kenyans exactly what the US thought they should do. The legality of the administration’s financial efforts is still under debate, but it is clear that they were leaving little to chance.

So how has this new constitution affected life on the ground in Kenya? In the videos below, Human Life International Kenya director Fr. Rafael Wanjohi explains on the one year anniversary of the referendum that life has indeed changed, although most Kenyans do not realize it yet.

The two-part interview can be seen here:

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