When part of your work involves looking for trends, you begin to see them everywhere. This is not a new issue but something I’ve picked up recently in many news articles and more recently an argument surrounding the new constitutional draft… And though you may not like it as an individual – perhaps there are different ways of looking at it.
Last week, there was a newspaper article about a baby that was left on a dumpsite. The baby was a few days old and was dead.
A couple of weeks before that, there was an article in another newspaper about a young woman found in a room – they said it looked like she had tried to give herself an abortion. She had died in the process.
When you live in a country where a study shows that young women would rather get Aids than fall pregnant, you know there’s an issue here. An issue that has been neglected so much that these tragedies do occur and have become part of the fabric of our society.
Visit any orphanage and you will know that it is a common occurrence for unwanted babies to be dumped like waste…. down the choo, in the nearby stream or out with the trash. If they do manage to pull through, it is often individuals like Agnes Awori who have large families to support and not huge means on which to do so that take on the ‘burdens’ of our society. Or it is the countless orphanages - though I acknowledge there are some that are not in this condition - that exist in Kenya with cracking walls, mismanagement and a lack of caring staff. These places are a time bomb waiting to happen…
US economist Steven Levitt, author of ‘Freakonomics’ where this crime theory is thoroughly explained, describes America in the 1970s as a haven of violent and property crime.
However, in the 90s the United States experienced a dramatic drop in murder rates… this wasn’t attributed to increased rates of incarceration or better policing strategies – Levitt attributes it to a single court case in 1973: Roe vs Wade. A decision that legalised abortion nationwide. The conclusions that the economist drew was that if a child is brought into this world and lives without the proper foundations of a good and loving home, or a home that can support them financially, they are more likely to fall into a life of crime. It’s an interesting theory that may shed light on many social situations in Kenya at this time…
Perhaps this is something the big players of our nation are beginning to recognise - the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Review had sought the revision of the constitution to alter a clause that defines life as starting at conception to state that it in fact starts at birth. This revision would have been our own Roe vs Wade… but some portions of Kenyan society were outraged and it remains that “the life of a person begins at conception”.
It is not surprising that religious communities have spoken out about this – but if they are truly advocates of natural death then there needs to be a greater appreciation of the fact that we live in a society where ‘natural’ is no longer the order of the day; We are constantly using drugs to prolong our lives and treatments to keep us alive and the death penalty has still not been fully eradicated in Kenya!
The issue of abortion… Everyone is entitled to have their opinion and it’s hard to take sides but if you really are pro-life then perhaps you should also consider the lives of the mothers and the quality of life these children would have.