World

Africa, times to strengthen the family

The executive orders signed in the first days of the new U.S. administration do not bode well for Kenya in family matters.

Martyn Drakard-February 19, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes
abortion family africa

As newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders in Washington repealing the Trump administration's pro-life and pro-family legislation, an unseasonably cold wind was blowing in this part of Africa, as if foreshadowing what may await Africans in the next four years: a return to the Obama era; the push for abortion and liberalization of laws on homosexual behavior.

A process linked to the United States

Many of us still remember Barack Obama's return to his father's homeland, and the public appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta to liberalize the country's laws on homosexual conduct. To that, Kenyatta claimed that it is not part of the nation's culture.

In contrast, the Trump years had eased pressure in Africa to adopt these Western "values" by appointing ambassadors who shared his views in these types of areas and reducing funding.

Biden wants to turn back the clock. He has signed an executive order to promote homosexuality and transgenderism as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy. From now on, all government departments and agencies acting abroad will be required to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and transsexual people around the world.

The key to financing

In addition, $10 million will fund the "Global Equality Fund," which will allow the U.S. government to blacklist foreign religious leaders who speak out in favor of the natural family and against LGBT ancestry. The same group is calling for a global effort to combat what they call "anti-gender" groups around the world. Pro-life and natural family advocates will be hurt, as they will not be able to count on friendly funding sources in the United States.

Mexico City's policy prohibiting U.S. money from going to abortion groups overseas was rescinded. This same executive order also withdrew sponsorship, and signature, of the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a "declaration by 35 countries that abortion is not an international human right," to which the United States had been a signatory.

Thus, funding was restored to the United Nations Population Fund, an agency that promotes abortion, meaning that the International Planned Parenthood Fund, Marie Stopes and hundreds of others around the world will now lobby governments to repeal protection for the unborn.

Help us, don't kill us!

The outlook is bleak, but Africa is not unprepared: see a 16-minute documentary prepared in Nigeria by Culture of Life, Africa, in which women and men from different backgrounds and professions and from different African countries tell Biden: Help us, don't kill us!

But, although it has softened during the Trump years, the pressure is relentless. Kenya, for example, is seen as an easy target, because it is more "westernized," has good communications, is well organized, and has freedom of speech and assembly.

In 2019 a lobby group went to court to try to decriminalize same-sex sexual relations, without success. In the same year, the Nairobi Summit (ICPD+25) was held to commemorate 25 years since the Cairo population conference. Although President Kenyatta said he did not share some of its views, the conference received wide international coverage and the fact that it was held here meant that local authorities had to endorse its agenda. A peaceful pro-life march was cancelled at the last minute, as police said they feared it would get out of control.

Constitutional scope

More recently, a senator, Susan Kihika, has tried to promote an abortion bill, which is now before parliament. Its aim, according to its promoter, is to provide safe abortion, "adolescent-friendly" family planning services, comprehensive sex education in schools, surrogate motherhood and in vitro fertilization.

In the current Kenyan constitution (2010), abortion is not illegal in all situations. The text reads: "(1): Everyone has the right to life; (2). A person's life begins at conception; (4). Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a qualified health professional, emergency treatment is necessary, or the life or health of the mother is endangered, or if permitted by any other written law; (5).".

The wording is ambiguous and Ms. Kihika and her co-promoters could see their bill become law.

Christians, especially from the Catholic Church, and the stricter Muslim communities, which have a significant presence in most African countries, oppose abortion and gay rights, but are at the mercy of their leaders and powerful international pharmaceutical groups.

How much longer can Africa hold out?

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