, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – Debate on the proposed Constitution intensified on Sunday when a section of the civil society told off church leaders who have threatened to oppose the document if a provision allowing abortion is not deleted.
Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said they would not heed the Prime Minister’s call that they soften their stand on the right to life clause in the draft.
He said the Church can not support abortion.
“We all have said that God values life and life begins at conception. That is a principle and we all seem to have agreed on that aspect even with the MPs in Naivasha,” said Bishop Wabukala.
He says provisions for abortion should be dealt with through an Act of Parliament.
The Anglican prelate urged MPs not to use the draft as campaign tool as they did in 2005.
“I caution all of us; political leader and religious leaders, that this time round we do our best to put this house together. The document is not yet complete – opportunities for improving it are still there. Let us not make that document an object for completion an issues that tore this country apart.”
At the same time, civil society groups advocating for the realisation of a new constitution have opposed a provision that allows only one doctor to decide when an abortion should be done.
Activist Okoiti Omtatah proposes that abortion performed when a mother\’s life is in danger be done only after two medical practitioners have been consulted.
“The concerns that are being raised are because in the current Constitution there is a provision for aborting on medical grounds; which sets a slightly higher threshold than what the draft Constitution is providing for by demanding that one medical officer gives an opinion while in the current Constitution is two,” he stated
The groups further urged church leaders against using the matter of right to life to mobilise for a no vote and are instead calling for a sober debate on the matter to work towards building consensus.
The Committee of Experts’ final draft says abortion is not permitted unless in the opinion of a trained health professional, there as need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by another written law.