Kenya: Cardinal speaks out against proposed abortion law

 In his harshest criticism yet of a proposed law to legalise abortion, Nairobi Catholic archbishop, Cardinal John Njue, says it would turn the womb from a sacred place of life into a "slaughterhouse.

Life is sacred and there is "no negotiation to be done with regard to this, the cardinal said on Saturday while celebrating the fifth Memorial Mass for the late archbishop of Nairobi, Cardinal Maurice Otunga.

Njue appealed to Members of Parliament "never to make any law that will contradict the commandments of God. The Fifth Commandment states: You Shall not kill.

The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya) and the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) have drafted the Reproductive Health and Rights Bill 2008 and vowed to push for its enactment by Parliament.

The new Bill seeks to authorize medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and when the pregnancy puts the mother's life in danger or when it is clear the mother is incapable of caring for the baby.

There are no statistics on abortion in Kenya, but it is believed that illegal, back-street abortions are widespread. Proponents argue that legalizing abortion and providing the service in public hospitals will save the lives and health of many women who seek illegal services.

Media and NGO reports indicate increased incidents of rape and defilement and teenage sex. The age of onset of sexual activity among youth has reportedly dropped significantly in recent years. There is also widespread use of emergency contraption, especially among urban youth.

Cardinal Njue said the proposed law does not reflect the reproductive health situation in Kenya and is being pushed from elsewhere by "people who have destroyed their own countries and want to destroy ours in the name of civilization.

He specifically urged women to reject any move to legalize abortion. "You are not women by chance; you are mothers by God's design, he said.

Source: CISA

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