WORLD Magazine | August 14, 2010
An audit review of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reveals USAID has given at least $23 million to grantees who are pushing a Kenyan constitution that liberalizes abortion law. The new constitution is supposed to create checks and balances and protect freedoms, but it also changes Kenya's strict abortion law to allow a "trained health professional" to authorize abortion "for emergency treatment" or if the life or health of the mother is in danger.
Jeff Sagnip, spokesperson for Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said of the abortion language, "It's vague enough of a loophole that you could drive a truck through it." Because the funds went to grantees who agreed to push for a yes vote, Smith and other Republican congressmen say that the funds violate an amendment that prohibits using U.S. foreign assistance funds to lobby for or against abortion.
Dona Dinkler—spokesperson for the inspector general's office, which is conducting the review—stressed that the review is not over and said, "We have no evidence—no information that USAID has done anything illegal." A July Infotrak Harris poll showed 65 percent of Kenyans saying they would vote for the constitution on Aug. 4. Of the 25 percent who said they would vote no, 59 percent said they were voting no because the constitution "permits abortion."