NAIROBI, Kenya (ChurchMilitant.com) - Kenyan pro-lifers showed up in droves to protest a pro-abortion summit backed by the United Nations.
The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) hosted a conference Tuesday-Thursday this week in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi. According to the UNFPA, the Nairobi summit was based around "calls for action to end maternal deaths, stop gender-based violence and meet demand for family planning."
The phrase "family planning" is often used as a euphemism for artificial contraception and abortion.
A number of Kenyans protested against the summit. Pro-life political advocacy group CitizenGo delivered a petition with 80,000 signatures to Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta. As of press time, the online petition garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
Anne Kioko, Campaign Director for CitizenGo Africa, stated, "Africa is not for sale. African women do not need to sacrifice their children to be empowered."
The summit comes 25 years after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), during which government officials from around the world met in Cairo, Egypt. The ICPD promoted contraception and abortion under the banner of empowering women.
Pro-lifers demonstrated outside the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), the locale of the UNFPA summit.
Protesters marched past the KICC on Monday, carrying signs that said, "Abortion Kills Our Children." They recited cheers such as "No to ICPD," "Abortion hurts women," and "Marriage is between a man and a woman."
On Wednesday, the first day of the summit, pro-life protesters brought red trash cans with baby dolls dripping fake blood — representing the disposal of aborted babies' corpses. They also displayed the number 1,048,937, referencing the number of signatures to an international petition against abortion.
Summit organizers called the police on the pro-life protesters, according to CitizenGo. The conservative advocacy group shared video of armed security officers breaking up Wednesday's sidewalk protest.
President Kenyatta spoke at the opening of the summit. Pushback from pro-lifers caused him to clarify that he did not endorse the entirety of the UNFPA summit's agenda.
"We will not take wholesome [sic] everything that comes with the conference," he said. "We will end what we think discriminates against our fellow citizens but reject totally what is against our culture and morals."
The Catholic bishops of Kenya condemned the UNFPA summit's pro-abortion agenda, saying in a statement, "We reject the introduction of these ideologies centered on gender, and other alien practices, which go against our African culture and our religious heritage. We view this agenda as an intent to corrupt our youth and enslave them to foreign ideologies."
Bishop emeritus Alfred Rotich, vice-chair of the Kenyan bishops' family life office, told Catholic media, "We find such a conference not good for us, [and] destroying the agenda for life."
"We are looking at it from the African culture," he said, "and we are asking the nation, through the president: Have we no values?"
Likewise, Abp. Martin Kivuva of the Mombasa archdiocese called the UNFPA summit's agenda "unacceptable according to our teaching of the Catholic Church."
"It is not the first time they are doing this, and they have a hidden agenda," he opined. "Remember, most of this is about population reduction. Yet in Europe, there is zero growth and they tell us we are many."
"They tell us we are poor because we are many," Abp. Kivuva remarked. "That is a lie! We are poor because they took and still take our resources."
The United States and ten other nations issued a joint statement on Thursday supporting the summit's stance against discrimination and violence but voicing concern "about the content of some of the key priorities of this summit."
Those countries declared, "We do not support references in international documents to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)."
"In addition," the statement continues, "the use of the term SRHR may be used to actively promote practices like abortion. There is no international right to abortion; in fact, international law clearly states that 'everyone has the right to life' (e.g. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)."
The U.S. Health and Human Service Department issued the statement "on behalf of Brazil, Belarus, Egypt, Haiti, Hungary, Libya, Poland, Senegal, St. Lucia and Uganda."