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K.V. Turley

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Pro-life victory: Kenya orders Marie Stopes to ‘cease’ all abortion services

K.V. Turley

November 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Kenyan medical authorities have banned Marie Stopes, the international abortion provider, from offering any kind of abortion services. 

Judging from the US and UK press reports about this decision it looked as if this was a move that was as wholly arbitrary as it was unexpected. Of course, this was not the case. 

In September 2018, Marie Stopes was instructed to desist from promoting its services via Kenyan radio networks. The advertisements being run were seen by many as “drumming up” business for abortion with a direct appeal to teenage girls. 

The advertisements were not only judged to be offensive in terms of taste in this deeply Christian country, but for some they also appeared to be undermining existing Kenyan law on abortion, which only permits abortion in the case of a threat to the life of the mother. Advertising for abortion is not permitted under Kenyan law and is also prohibited under local medical practitioner rules. 

So the breaching of the broadcast rules by Marie Stopes in September 2018 initiated an inquiry from Kenyan medical authorities. This resulted in a letter being sent on 14 November 2018 from the Kenyan Medical Practitioners Board to Marie Stopes stating that: "Marie Stopes Kenya is hereby directed to immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities within the republic." Marie Stopes was also instructed to file a weekly report on all services rendered in its facilities for 60 days thereafter.

The medical board said it had felt compelled to act having received a number of complaints from, among others, Ann Kioko, campaign manager at the pro-life group CitizenGo Africa, and Ezekiel Mutua, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Film Classification Board.

Prior to its radio advertising, in August 2018, Marie Stopes had run a Facebook campaign that caused many in Kenya to wonder what sort of services were on offer at Maries Stopes facilities. One advertisement had a bottle full of pills with a caption saying “ an unplanned pregnancy can lead to a wide range of emotions”, while another talked of helping women left alone by boyfriends after getting pregnant or women whose contraception had failed. 

Marie Stopes is one of the biggest global abortion providers with more than 12,000 employees in 37 countries. It has operated in Kenya since 1985 running 22 facilities and 15 so-called “mobile outreach” facilities.  Its slogans include: "Children by Choice not Chance" and "Helping You Manage Your Options". For Marie Stopes, however, things may get a whole lot worse if some Kenyans have their way.

CitizenGo Africa is determined to get the Kenyan government not only to stop Marie Stopes from advertising abortion but from continuing to operate in Kenya. This latest decision comes in the wake of an online campaign by the Kenyan pro-lifers whose online petition demanding the ending of Marie Stopes in Kenya is currently running at 5,528 signatures.  The petition web page is adamant in its opposition to what it sees as: “Kenyan women and youth…  becoming a victim of the blood thirsty clinics who are now even advertising abortions in the streets of Nairobi and other rural areas”. The campaign organisers describe themselves as “very angry” at what Marie Stopes is doing and that it has to be “stopped”. They believe that “Marie Stopes has overstayed their leave and demand for immediate investigation of their trade and for immediate deregistration”.

CitizenGo Africa and others saw the Marie Stopes advertising campaign as trying to circumvent the current laws around abortion in Kenya. If that was indeed the case then the ploy by the abortionists has backfired, spectacularly so. As it looks now like Kenyan pro-lifers have scored a major victory if only through the “own goal” of Marie Stopes overreach. 

The head of the government agency in charge of approving radio and film advertising, Ezekiel Mutua, welcomed the ban on Marie Stopes activity. He said the abortion supporting materials used in their advertising were "unprofessional… making it look cool to have an abortion". Furthermore, he accused the previous US Administration under President Obama of causing moral decay in Kenya by promoting abortion. Mutua said: “"[US] Democrats pushed the pro-abortion view and the pro-LGBT stance on us - an agenda that is alien to our own culture." 

These comments also indicate what the latest set back for Marie Stopes demonstrates to those within the developing world, namely, that American foreign policy on the issue of abortion has once more changed. In January 2018, US President Donald Trump banned all American funding for any organizations that support or offer abortions. Under President Trump the former pressure on countries such as Kenya to accept Western abortion ideology and agencies has now not only ceased but has been reversed. 

This pro-life breakthrough also comes as the latest campaign by 40 Days for Life in Kenya ended. 

This is a pro-life victory not just for Kenyans but for all Africans, and for all those in the developing world who oppose the West’s imposition of abortion and abortion providers upon cultures still happily and defiantly pro-life.  

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