The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) is pleading with Catholics in Canada and the United States to stop donating to Free the Children’s “contraception-distributing” Baraka Health Clinic in Maasai Mara, Kenya, because of the “evils caused to families and society in Kenya by the use of contraception”. Instead, they are asking that donations be directed to Catholic health facilities that do not distribute contraception, and respect the Church’s teaching.
Free the Children has come under fire during the past few years for its backing of abortion-supporting and contraception-dispensing initiatives.
Socon or Bust has obtained a copy of a letter, addressed to a concerned Ottawa parent and ratepayer and written by Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru, the Chairman of the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, an official body of the KCCB. He contradicts an earlier statement made by Free the Children co-founder Marc Kielburger, who suggested that all public health clinics in Kenya are required by the government to distribute contraceptives and that even Catholic institutions are dispensing them. Kielburger wrote the following text to the OSCB in October of last year:
“Because our clinic in Kenya is certified and supported in-part by the government of Kenya, the Baraka Health Clinic is mandated, by law in the country of Kenya, to stock provide contraceptives to patients should they personally request them,” he wrote… He claimed that “the Catholic Mission Hospitals and Catholic Mission Clinics in our region have also adopted this same policy, and have contraceptives on hand in their own clinics as well, as mandated by the government.” (Source) (Emphasis ours)
Not so, according to Bishop Njiru:
“There have also been claims by Free the Children that all health facilities in Kenya are required by the government to stock and distribute contraceptives for family planning. While the government and other secular health facilities in Kenya provide contraceptives, it is not a requirement by law and as such, Catholic health facilities do not stock or distribute contraceptives for family planning.” (Emphasis ours)
Bishop Njiru also pleads with Catholics in North America to stop supporting contraception-distributing health facilities that are causing great harm to Kenya, and to instead opt for the ethical alternative:
“Considering the evil caused to families and society in Kenya by the use of contraception, Catholic Bishops in Kenya through Catholic Health Commission of KCCB request that donors in Canada and the United States direct their generosity to Catholic health facilities and not to contraception-distributing institutions and programmes such as Free the Children’s Baraka Medical Centre. We are requesting that this be done through the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya who the Catholic Bishops hold responsible for the Catholic Church’s health apostolate.” (Emphasis ours)
The Bishop also attached a two-year plan developed by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops outlining their strategy to deliver enhancing maternal, neonatal and child health while upholding pro-family Catholic ethics in the face of “heightened programming by pro-choice organizations that are fostering anti-family principles in Kenya’s health sector.”
In light of this development, it would appear that Catholics in North America have been misinformed by Free the Children into financially supporting the distribution of contraceptives. Moreover, if Catholics truly intend to help the people of Kenya, it is doubtful how anyone could justify providing support through a contraception-distributing health facility, when support can just as easily be offered through Catholic facilities that respect the integrity of the person and of their sexuality.