By Elizabeth O’Brien
NAIROBI, Kenya, June 28, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The leaders of ten African states met at an international conference for women leaders yesterday to discuss the legalization of abortion, ostensibly in order to reduce maternal mortality, Kenya’s Daily Nation (DN) reports.
The conference centered around the controversial Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as the Maputo Protocol. Part of the African charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the document calls for abortion in cases of “sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the fetus.”
In a speech read by his assistant minister, Kenya Vice President Moody Awori addressed representatives from Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi and Mozambique. The supposedly Catholic official encouraged listeners to support “safe” abortion for women throughout Africa.
Awori stated, “It is sad to learn that 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion each year and out of these, 30,000 are in Africa. We could simply say there is one unsafe abortion for every seven live births in Africa.”
Claiming that 10,000 to 15,000 secondary school girls in Kenya drop out of school annually due to unplanned pregnancies, he continued, “Without recourse to termination of the unplanned pregnancy, their personal development is usually curtailed and the nation loses their development potential.”
Ambassador Eunice Brookman Amissah and Agelo Melo, the African Union Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women, put additional pressure on those countries that restrict abortion, calling for “political commitment” to end “unsafe abortion”, the DN reports.
At present Tanzania and Rwanda are the only Eastern African states that have signed and ratified the abortion-promoting protocol, although Kenya and Uganda have signed but not ratified it. In total 21 African states have ratified the protocol.
According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission, the issue of unsafe abortions in Kenya is an “epidemic of gigantic proportions,” the BBC reports. Nevertheless, opponents to the legalization of abortion in Africa point out that the abortion movement has a long-standing habit of dramatically overestimating the numbers of injuries due to “unsafe” abortion as a lever to gain political support.
Former American abortionist Bernard Nathanson admitted after his conversion to the pro-life point of view, that the abortion industry constantly inflates the “unsafe abortion” mortality numbers in order to pressure countries into accepting abortion. “Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public,” revealed Nathanson after leaving the abortion industry. “The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.”
Once abortion was legalized throughout the U.S, it became the country’s primary method of birth control, said Nathanson, and as a result, “the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent” (see https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2002/dec/02122009.html).
Likewise, in 2003 the Norwegian government admitted a grossly inaccurate statement it made regarding back-alley abortions. Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, leader of the Christian People’s Party claimed, “Each year 800,000 women die in developing countries because abortions are not performed in a medically proper way.” She was forced to retract this number upon being informed that it was 11.5 times higher than the UNFPA estimate and 130 times higher than the American Life League estimate (https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2003/jan/03012407.html).
Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that 68,000 women die annually from unsafe abortions. Dr. Randy O’Bannon, Education Director for National Right to Life, revealed to LifeNews, however, that these numbers come from studies based on tiny population samples, anecdotal stories, journal articles, and studies from the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Read the Maputo Protocol:
Read related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Mozambique Looks to Legalize Abortion on Demand
African Health Ministers Vote to Approve Protocol to Legalize Abortion Throughout Continent
African Health Ministers Meeting Discuss Legalizing Abortion Throughout Africa