How the US Christian right influences abortion policy in Africa

Global Post: In the US this week, the brouhaha over Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape” touched on the hot-button issues of individual freedom, government intervention, party politics and women’s rights. It has pitted the Republicans and Democrats against each other, with American uteri squarely in the line of fire.

But what many either forget or don’t know is that lawmakers like Akin and the pro-life religious organizations have major international influence, particularly in Africa.

A new report from PublicEye, a progressive Boston think tank, shows how policies of the American conservative Christian movement have contributed to outlawing abortions, including in cases of rape, in countries where rape is most prevalent and population control is a very serious concern.

Written by Anglican minister Dr. Kapya Kaoma, “Colonizing African Values – How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa,” [PDF] lays out the facts: Activists on the Christian right, led by such luminaries of their fields as Pat Robertson, Sharon Slater and Randall Terry, actively involve themselves in writing policy and getting lawmakers elected in African countries.

While the report focuses significantly on these groups’ attempts to maintain the criminalization of homosexuality, stifling reproductive freedom in countries like Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya is also high on the agenda.

More from GlobalPost: Congo clinic offers hope to rape victims

Human Life International (HLI), a radical Catholic group that operates by holding conferences for seminarians, distributing literature and setting up relationships with African religious leaders and politicians, has an umbrella pro-life position — against abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia and contraception.


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