The Church in Kenya notes with concern the recent developments in the Ministry of Health in regard to guidelines and policies on reproductive health rights in Kenya.
The Church wishes to state its position as follows;
On the Right of Life:
As a matter of scientific fact and as stated in the constitution of Kenya, Article 26; life begins at conception. From conception each unborn child is by nature a human being and a citizen of Kenya as recognized by the constitution.
All human beings as members of the human family are entitled to recognition of their inherent dignity and to the protection of their unalienable human rights as provided in Articles 26 and 28 of the constitution and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
There exists no provision, either under the Constitution of Kenya or under any international law in Kenya, which by way of treaty obligation or customary international law that can be accurately cited as establishing or recognising the right to abortion on demand.
This includes the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Signed in Maputo in 2003.
Any and all assertions by international agencies and/or non-governmental organisations that abortion is a human right are false and we soundly reject the same.
On the Definition of Health;
While we appreciate that the World Health Organisation defines health as the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity – we, as the Church insist that this must be interpreted in the light of the physical, mental and social well being of the unborn child.
Further, the right to life is a fundamental human right and it cannot be limited by subsidiary legislation such as guidelines and policy regulations.
On the Right of Conscience;
The freedom of conscience, under Article 32 of the constitution of Kenya, ensures that medical practitioners and or health professionals in Kenya have the right to decline to engage or participate in any action which is against their religious beliefs, including but not limited to carrying out abortions.
The constitution also upholds the freedom of conscience of faith-based health institutions to not engage nor participate in actions that are against their beliefs. Faith based institutions have the right to decline to counsel, advise, pay for, provide, perform, assist, or participate in providing health care services that violate their consciences including, but not limited to carrying out abortions.
On the Provisions of Contraceptives for Children;
The Church is against the distribution of all forms of contraceptives to children. We insist that there must be parental guidance on matters of reproductive health services until children attain the age of majority.
We invoke the provisions of the Constitution Articles 26 and 28 and call upon the government to guarantee the right to life of the unborn child and we demand that the government of Kenya bears the state responsibility of protecting the unborn child from abortion.
All laws, statutes, government regulations, guidelines, and policies must therefore abide and adhere strictly to the protection of human life from conception.
We reject and condemn any policy or pressure to legalise or depenalise abortion in Kenya.
We demand that all government officers, national courts or State bodies should desist from any implicit or explicit assertions of a right to abortion on demand based upon international law.
We demand that any and all laws, statutes, guidelines and policies concerning maternal and child health care should solely aim at ensuring a healthy outcome of pregnancy of both mother and child and should help mothers welcome new life in all circumstances.
As the Church in Kenya provides 40 percent of the health care services in the country, we take issue with the fact that the Church has not been invited by the government to participate in the deliberations on various health policies and guidelines especially and most recently, on the standards and guidelines for the reduction of maternal mortality from unsafe abortion.
We as the church demand greater inclusion of the church in the deliberation process on matters touching on health care in Kenya and particularly on matters of reproductive health rights.
Rev Canon Peter Karanja
NCCK – General Secretary
Rev Fr Vincent Wambugu
KEC – Secretary General
Rev Dr Willy Mutiso
EAK General Secretary