News and perspective from Father Babendreier, the chaplain at Strathmore School, Nairobi, on the proposed new Constitution and the defense of life. It seems the proposed Constitution leaves a door open for legalization of abortion, but it's a step forward in the right direction. Of course, I know nothing of Nairobi politics, so I could be totally missing the flaws in this.
Because of political tensions over other issues, such as devolution, let me add that I am not arguing the right-to-life case with the hope that people will vote Yes. I am trying to clarify a contention that has direct bearing on a moral issue where the Church has a duty to speak clearly. Here I address only the question of abortion, as debated on moral grounds. If the proposed document is voted in, Kenya will join others countries where the law protects the right to life of the unborn.
There is some merit to the fear that the wording gives Parliament the authority to draft a Bill that would make abortion-on-demand legal throughout Kenya. However, suppose Parliament wanted to do that, the proposed new Constitution, if accepted, would give the MPs the authority to legislate such a law. But that possibility already exists under the current Constitution. Even though the proposed new Constitution would also allow MPs that same possibility, the new wording would be a permanent witness to the barbarity of their decision.
The new wording says that life begins at conception. The unborn child is a human being just like you and I. Once the unborn child has been defined as a person with the same right to life as all other citizens, the law equates any deliberate act of killing such a person with murder.
We can always hope that future MPs would be wise enough to shun the mere thought of proposing a Bill to legalise murder, especially the murder of the most innocent of all human beings. If in a moment of madness they ever tried, the clarity of wording in the new Constitution would be a rallying cry for all who want to oppose them.