Thursday, January 21, 2010

Catholics threaten to reject Kenya draft law

A statement from the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC), which groups Catholic bishops, said the church will not recognise a constitution that does not protect life in all its phases.

Demonstrators hold banners during an anti-abortion march in Brasilia, Brazil, last year. The message on the placards reads: ‘’How can we legalise death when we want life’’. A statement from the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC), which groups Catholic bishops, said the church will not recognise a constitution that does not protect life in all its phases. Photo/FILE 

By CAROLINE WAFULA

Catholic Bishops have threatened to disown the draft constitution being discussed by MPs unless it includes a clause that clearly stipulates when life begins.

The church wants the draft that will come from the Parliamentary Select Committee on the constitution review to clearly state that life begins at conception and ends with natural death. This, they say, is necessary to prevent legalised abortion.

A statement from the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC), which groups Catholic bishops, said the church will not recognise a constitution that does not protect life in all its phases.

“A constitution that does not protect life in all its phases is irremediably faulty and ceases to demand any recognition,” they stated.

“We strongly feel that we cannot be party to any legislation that supports a culture of death. Life begins at conception and ends with natural death and any attempt to deny this truth is wrong and misleading,” the clerics said.

Thursday’s statement, issued by 23 bishops, was signed by Rt Rev Philip Sulumeti, the Bishop of Kakamega and KEC vice-chairman, with the mandate of John Cardinal Njue, the Archbishop of Nairobi and the KEC chairman.

The Catholic Church strongly opposes abortion. Through its bishops, it presented to the Committee of Experts a memorandum with regard to Article 35 — Right to Life — stating its stand.

The statement to the CoE also said every person has a right to life, and there shall be no abortion. The PSC team meeting in Naivasha has, however, declined to insert the proposed clause.

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