August 14, 2010
State Department IG Clears Embassy Officials in Kenyan Abortion Debate
The State Department Office of Inspector General this week cleared U.S. embassy officials in Nairobi of any wrongdoing in relation to their alleged advocacy of the abortion provision in the recently adopted Kenyan Constitution.
The OIG report came in response to complaints from three Republican House members that embassy officials pushed a provision in the proposed Kenyan Constitution that, according to them, liberalized abortion rights. The members claimed that officials' advocacy violated the Siljander Amendment, which states that "none of the funds made available under this Act may be used to lobby for or against abortion." P.L. 111-117, 123 Stat. 3035, 3324. We previously covered the dispute, with links to sources, here.
The OIG report concluded that "it is U.S. policy to actively support the Kenyan reform agenda, in which the constitutional review process figures prominently," but that
[a]t no time during the review did the OIG inspectors uncover any evidence that U.S. embassy officials made any private or public statements to Kenyan government officials, NGOs or any other actors expressing either a positive or negative position on the abortion provision in the draft Kenyan constitution, nor did they attempt to influence any Kenyan's opinion, either positively or negatively, on the abortion provision.
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