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Majority of Kenyans Opposed to Legalization of Abortion, Homosexuality, Study Shows

Charles Kanjema, Chairman Kenya Christian Professionals Forum (KCPF) during Friday's press conference in Kenya's capital Nairobi.

A study commissioned by the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum (KCPF) to assess citizens’ perception of abortion has established that majority of people in the East African nation are opposed to attempts to legalize termination of pregnancy. 

The findings are contained in a 24-page study report dubbed “KCPF Perceptions Study on Abortion, Homosexuality and 2010 Constitution,” which was released during a press conference in Nairobi on Friday, August 28. 

The study, which was carried out by international research firm, Ipsos, on behalf of KCPF has established that 85 percent of Kenyans “think abortion should not be permitted,” a position supported by 86 percent of females and 84 percent of males. 

Conducted between 20 August and 23 August, the study shows that out of the 85 percent respondents who expressed their opposition to the legalization of abortion, 91 percent are Muslims, 84 percent are Catholics, 84 percent are “other Christians,” and 86 percent we identified as non-religious.

The results of the study that involved 2,050 respondents drawn from Kenya’s eight administrative regions also show that six percent of Kenyans support the legalization of abortion and nine percent “reject abortion on request, but would allow abortion in some cases like to protect a mother’s life.”

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“The main reason for not supporting abortion is that it is murder,” Ipsos researchers report and add that some of the respondents are opposed to the termination of pregnancy because they consider it as “murder, ungodly and immoral.” 

The study respondents opposed to abortion also say abortion endangers the life of the woman, might lead to infertility, and above all, it will hinder population increase. 

“Those who support abortion base their support on the need to protect the mother’s life if the unborn child endangers her life,” the study commissioned by the Christian professionals from various denominations sharing common values on life, family, religion and governance has established.

Respondents who expressed their support for legalizing abortion in Kenya also gave other reasons such as avoiding unwanted pregnancies, some women/couples not being ready for the child due to their careers, cases of rape, and when those involved are not able to take care of the child. 

The study report comes two weeks after Kenya’s government through the Ministry of Health rejected the controversial Reproductive Healthcare Bill 2019, which among other things, sought to legalize abortion. 

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In his submissions against the Bill to the Senate, the country’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe noted that the proposed law had provisions that sought to “normalize abortion on demand, contrary to the Constitution and the values the country upholds.” 

On the issue of teenage pregnancies, which seem to be on the rise in the country, the KCPF-commissioned study established that “over 90% (92%) of the respondents feel that parents have primary responsibility for carrying out sex education with the children.” 

The respondents, according to the study report, were of the view that teachers only have a 37 percent responsibility in matters of sex education, while faith-based entities and their leaders have a 17 percent influence. 

“There is an inordinately large number of teenage pregnancies in Kenya, and the cause is inordinately high sexual activity among minors,” KCPF members say in a statement issued during the August 28 launch of the study report.

They add, “We urge parents and guardians to spend quality time with their children and share the right information at the right time, place and context to help support good and moral behavior and also address the scourge of teenage sex and pregnancies.”

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In the two-page statement signed by KCPF Chairperson, Charles Kanjama and Secretary, Vincent Kimosop, the members caution that the controversial Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) “will not cure inordinate levels of sexual activity among minors.”

Instead, KCPF members advocate for the life skills-based “acceptable curricula” offered by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), which they say, “can help to supplement the principal role of parents in providing value-based sex education.”

On homosexuality, the August 28 study report shows that 90 percent of the respondents are opposed to the legalization of the behavior. The report of the study also indicates that 79 percent of the respondents said that the Kenyan government “should prosecute homosexuals who speak openly about their sexual acts.”

Those who said that “there are more important things that the government should concentrate on rather than homosexuality” represent 71 percent of the respondents.

Regarding calls for a review of Kenya’s 10-year-old constitution, respondents who expressed their opposition to the move (42 percent) outnumbered those who expressed their support (37 percent), with 22 percent of the respondents not disclosing their opinion on the matter.

“KCPF urges all professionals, people of faith and Kenyans of goodwill to assess calls for proposed amendment of the Katiba (Constitution) on whether they meet a triple test: process, substance, and context,” representatives of Christian professionals in Kenya say their August 28 press statement.