31 March 2011

Taxpayer Money Ending Abortions in Kenya?

This makes me ashamed of my home state. From Mother Jones:
But Rep. Chris Smith...spent part of the break on a taxpayer-funded trip to Kenya, where he slammed the country's new constitution for allowing abortions in cases when the health of the mother is at risk.

Kenyan abortion restrictions go far beyond those in American law, and Kenya's new constitution, approved overwhelmingly last August, codifies a ban on abortions in the country. But that's not enough for Smith and US anti-abortion groups, who argue that the exception allowing for legal abortions to preserve the health of the mother "opens the door to abortion on demand."

Smith wasn't just meeting with Kenyan politicians and activists during his time in East Africa—he was actively politicking. On March 21, Smith spoke at an event on the new constitution sponsored by the Kenya Christian Professional Forum in Limuru, a town about 35 miles outside Kenya's capital, Nairobi. A staffer for the US-based group Center for Reproductive Rights, which recently opened an office in Nairobi, took notes during the speech. In it, the congressman reportedly called for "a world free of abortion." Smith also accused "pro-abortion NGOs" of having "hijacked" the maternal mortality issue in order to legalize the killing of the unborn, CRR says.
This is absolutely a place that US politicians have no right meddling. I will not even get into my disagreement with his thoughts on the policy, but I do not that members of congress should be acting as diplomats in the capacity of their office. That is a blatant misuse of power. If Rep Smith wanted to make a personal trip to Kenya, that would certainly be within his own rights. However, I am shocked that such a trip would be covered by congress.

On another note, this reminds me of a song that was often on the radio in Kenya with the refrain "abortion is a crime."