A Kenyan cleric has lashed out at fellow African clergy who castigate women seeking safe abortion, saying religious conversion does not make one foreign to the world realities
The Rev. Michael Kimindu, the Metropolitan Community Churches’ minister, said human beings were prone to worldly shortcomings and, therefore, need help from religious leaders to overcome temptations.
“It is common to hear a leader saying they are interested in the few who are righteous than many who are weak in faith. Religious leaders who look at abortion as immoral miss the point of seeking the other sheep,” Kimindu said at the regional conference on eliminating unsafe abortion in Africa held at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra last week.
Kimindu, who is also the coordinator of Other Sheep East Africa, a coalition fighting for Christians’ human rights, with offices in Uganda and Tanzania, suggested that human sexuality and rights be included in theological studies to help religious leaders understand human sexual and reproductive rights.
“If the so many religious groups on this continent embraced human rights and left judgement to God, Africa would be the happiest place to live in on earth.”
Participants expressed concern about the negative attitude that religious leaders have towards safe abortion. This, they argued, would increase maternal deaths in Africa since women will continue dying from complications resulting from unsafe abortions.
Kimindu noted that sometimes parents of a pregnant girl need help from religious leaders, but they choose to keep quiet for fear of being labelled supporters of sin.
“To say that all abortion is murder of a life that God has created when, for instance, a woman has been raped, is to say that God is responsible for the rape.”
The one-week conference under the theme, Keeping our promise: Addressing unsafe abortion in Africa, attracted over 250 participants across the continent.
Ipas, a global women’s rights advocacy NGO, in collaboration with African Network on Medical Abortion, African Women’s Development and Communication Network, Marie Stopes International, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ghana’s health ministry and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa organised the conference.