Nun abortion claim by Kenyan politician

A doctor who is also a member of Kenya's parliament has claimed that he helped several nuns and "mistresses of priests" to obtain abortions although he later retracted most of his allegations.

The Catholic Information Service for Africa reports that the Catholic Church has reacted angrily to sensational claims by a politician that he helped nuns and 'mistresses of priests' procure abortions while he practiced as a doctor.

Dr Enoch Kibunguchy, Member of Parliament for Lugari in western Kenya and Assistant Minister for Health, was reported by a Nairobi tabloid as saying: "It is true I have helped nuns and priests' mistresses procure abortions, and most of my fellow gynaecologists in town Nairobi would say the same if they were honest."

Dr Kibunguchy, who says he is Catholic, first made the claims during an "abortion mock tribunal" organised in Nairobi two weeks ago by activists.

Catholic bishops condemned the tribunal, which featured recorded testimonies of women who had allegedly procured abortion.

"I have handled enough nuns with abortion cases and I know priests who have secret families. Let them not pretend to be holier than thou," the politician said.

In a press statement on Monday, the Executive Secretary of the Catholic Health Commission Dr Margaret Ogola responded that "the church has never said that if a nun or girlfriend of a priest procures an abortion, the abortion is less evil. The church considers life a sacred gift to the person to whom it is given."

Dr Ogola said Dr Kibunguchy had not only violated the Hippocratic Oath he took to protect the confidentiality of his patients but also broken the law because abortion is illegal in Kenya.

"It is surprising that no action has been taken against Dr Kibunguchy. I hope that his electorate have heard and will take action."

Dr Ogola dared the MP to "stand firm and repeat his statement to his constituents. I leave it to them to judge him and his actions at the next general elections." The polls will be held in December.

On Wednesday, Dr Kibunguchy retracted his story, saying he had only helped one former nun to terminate an incomplete abortion while working in a government hospital in Eldoret ten years ago.

Kenya: Pro-Abortion Politician Incurs Catholic Wrath Over Nuns Claim (Catholic Information Service for Africa, 13/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Parliament of Kenya
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)

Kenya bishops tell priests to keep out of politics (CathNews, 18/12/06)
Priest requests prayers for abortion practitioners (CathNews, 10/7/06)
Two killed in Kenya church attack blamed on political rivalry (CathNews, 17/9/02)

16 Jul 2007