Feds Hand $23 Million to Kenya Proxies Fighting for Pro-Abortion Constitution

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – With Kenya’s pivotal referendum on a new pro-abortion constitution just a few weeks away, three pro-life congressmen have brought forward more evidence that the U.S. federal government has heavily invested in procuring the approval of the document - to the tune of $23 million*. The U.S. has also enlisted pro-abortion groups to convince Kenyans to approve the constitution, they said, despite the existence of federal laws prohibiting such activity.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Africa and Global Health Subcommittee, along with Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Ranking Member on the House Oversight Committee, now report that the degree of the federal government’s complicity in supporting its proxy “yes” campaign in Kenya was far more than the $2 million dollars they estimated at the beginning of their investigation, and twice the revised figure of $11 million.   

“The Obama Administration should not be spending $23 million in American tax dollars on the specific 'Yes' campaign, pushing a determined outcome on the proposed constitution in Kenya,” Smith said. “The U.S. government can be supportive of the process, helping to secure a free and fair referendum. But we must respect the Kenyan people and let them decide for themselves. U.S. dollars should not be used to tell the Kenyan people how to vote.”   

The Congressmen say that they acquired the information from Donald Gambatesa, the Inspector General for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which can be found on a chart listing the groups receiving USAID funds for activities related to the constitutional referendum with a summary of their agreements.

Such activity could mean that the Obama administration is not only influencing the outcome of a sovereign nation’s referendum, but also pushing a constitution that would overturn Kenya’s current “life of the mother only” exception to its ban on abortion. Such activity is prohibited by the Siljander amendment, a statute that prohibits the federal government from using foreign aid funds “to lobby for or against abortion.”

Article 26 of the proposed constitution would broadly permit abortion if the “health of the mother is in danger,” “or if permitted by any other written law.” Abortion is one of two prongs upon which the Christian churches in Kenya have launched their opposition to the adoption of the constitution – the other being the Khadis courts, where Muslims would fall under Islamic jurisdiction and potentially pose a threat to Christian converts from Islam. 

Additionally, the chart obtained from USAID reveals an even more flagrant violation of the Siljander amendment: the Kenyan proxies supported financially by the U.S. federal government includes what Rep. Smith describes as “pro-abortion groups committed to overturning pro-life laws in Kenya.” 

According to the report from Smith’s office, these groups include the Kenyan Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya), the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review in Kenya, the African Woman and Child Features Service, and Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI).

FIDA-Kenya led the charge in 2008 to liberalize Kenya’s abortion law and received over $85,000 from USAID to lobby for the constitution. It is a member of the Kenyan Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance (RHRA), which was tasked with “drafting reproductive health provisions for the revised constitution” by Planned Parenthood, its financial sponsor.  

The African Woman and Child Features Service uses the power of media to advocate “comprehensive reproductive health rights” in Kenya, and has received $157,000 for activities related to the constitution. 

The lawmakers say that DAI –  which has received $3 million as a primary grant recipient, advised USAID in 2000 to support local advocacy groups pushing for “efforts to eventually legalize abortion in Kenya.” 

This latest information follows upon a report from the pro-life lawmakers last week revealing that the U.S. government also has funding agreements with various NGOs pledging to marshal Kenyans behind the proposed constitution. At least five NGOs agreed to register 20,000 voters each – 100,000 voters total – “for a YES vote at the next referendum.” One group received grant money to secure the support of Kenya’s elite. 

“We should be embracing the health and welfare of both mothers and children in African while respecting sovereign prolife laws,” said Smith.



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