WASHINGTON DC, November 17, 2011 ( – The recently released findings of a government investigation have raised further suspicions that the Obama Administration essentially “hired surrogates” to push for abortion in Kenya during a critical battle over the country’s new Constitution, according to renowned pro-life congressman Chris Smith.

According to a report published Monday by the Government Accountability Office, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), an Obama grantee in Kenya, repeatedly pushed for liberalization of the government’s abortion laws during the country’s debate over the draft Constitution.

Despite the fact that the first draft of the constitution contained no mention of abortion, the IDLO advised the Kenyan committee responsible for drafting the Constitution to “consider adding language to make clear that the fetus lacks constitutional standing, and that the rights of women under these articles therefore take priority.”

When a Kenyan government committee, the Parliamentary Select Committee, recommended that a second draft specifically prohibit abortion except when the mother’s life was at stake, the IDLO again inserted itself, pushing for a broadly written “health of the mother” exception.


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In its finalized form, the Constitution included a health exception clause similar to what the IDLO had advocated. The document was approved by voters last August.

According the GAO report, the Kenyan committee that drafted the Constitution “has indicated that it generally considered IDLO’s advice when revising the draft constitution.”

A statement from Congressman Chris Smith’s office revealed that the IDLO was funded for these activities by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to the tune of $400,000 in U.S. taxpayer money. Smith’s statement also indicated that the Obama Administration had funneled a total of $18 million towards efforts to influence constitutional changes in Kenya. 

“The Obama Administration basically hired surrogates to do its dirty work of abortion promotion in Kenya,” said Smith, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.  “U.S. policy on international constitutional reform is, by law, supposed to be abortion-neutral.”

The Siljander amendment, which has been included in the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act every year since 1984, prohibits the use of Foreign Aid money to lobby for or against abortion.

Republican Congressmen raised concerns last year, when the Kenyan Constitution was being drafted, that the Administration’s involvement in the drafting process might be violating this neutrality.

In his recent statement, Smith also accused an Administration official, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, of stonewalling the investigation to find out if the government had illegally inserted itself into proceedings in Kenya.

Otero, who had spent five years with the liberal Center for Development and Population Activities prior to her work in the Administration, visited Kenya multiple times last year, and met with Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Smith said the GAO had told his office that Otero had “ignored repeated requests from the GAO to question her regarding her activities in Kenya.” 

“In light of the law, Otero’s activities raise serious questions that she apparently did not want to answer,” he commented.

Smith added: “As the GAO points out, it is likely that several other countries will be amending or creating new constitutions in the foreseeable future, and this U.S. tax-payer funded effort to change Kenya’s pro-life laws raises red flags as to how U.S. monies may be used to impose legalized abortion on other countries through their constitutions.”