Monday July 12, 2010

U.S. Embassy Denies Funding Campaign for Pro-Abort Kenya Constitution

By Kathleen Gilbert

NAIROBI, July 12, 2010 ( – Following the launch of a probe into whether the federal government is illegally supporting a new pro-abortion constitution for Kenya, Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi have denied that America is funding a campaign favoring the document, saying only that the U.S. supports “the constitutional review process.”

In a statement released today, the U.S. embassy emphasized that “The US Government is supporting the constitutional review process as the centrepiece of the broad reform agenda agreed to following the post-election crisis,” as reported by Kenya’s Daily Nation.

“The referendum is in the hands of Kenyans. They will be alone in the voting booth, voting their conscience. The US Government stands with the people of Kenya. We encourage the Kenyan people to vote in a free and fair referendum, towards a peaceful and prosperous future,” continued the statement.

However, previous words and actions of the Obama Administration indicate that their interests lie beyond mere constitutional review. U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, confirmed in May that the U.S. has offered $2 million in public funds for “civic education” to support the process of enacting a new constitution, according to Fox news.

Additionally, last month Vice President Joe Biden travelled to Kenya where he promised monetary support to the nation should the constitution be passed. “We are hopeful, Barack Obama is hopeful, I am hopeful that you will carry out these reforms to allow money to flow,” he told a Kenyan crowd. Biden also stressed that the work of pro-life U.S. groups against the constitution should not be confused with the Obama administration’s position, and called the groups’ opposition “one of the drawbacks of democracy.”

An email from Biden’s office to Fox News later emphasized that the vice president believed the decision ultimately to be “up to the Kenyan people.”

The new constitution’s language on abortion, which broadly allows medical providers to conduct abortions if the mother’s “health” is endangered, is considered one of the top sources of controversy over the document.

An investigation has been launched by three U.S. congressmen with legal oversight jurisdiction into whether the U.S. support for the constitution amounts to a breach of the Siljander amendment, which forbids the use of foreign aid funds to lobby for abortion. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) has said that, as of May, as much as $10 million in taxpayer dollars may have been spent in support of the new constitution.


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