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CFC in the News - 2015

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Catholics for Choice says Obama billboard in Westlands pulled down

Lydia Matata

24 July 2015

An international organisation has said one of its billboards has been pulled down by the government ahead of President Obama’s visit on Friday.

Catholic for Choice said the government “without explanation” pulled down a billboard the organisation had placed legally on Chiromo road.

The billboard which was also sponsored by a local organisation, Reproductive Health Services Kenya  had a photo of Obama and the statement “Kenyan women deserve better than 6 years of inaction Mr. President...#HelmsHurts,”

The groups were referring to the Helms Amendment, an American policy which states that no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions. 

“The billboard called on President Obama and his administration to act now—after six and a half years of inaction—to revise this cruel and unjust policy,” Catholics for Choice said in a statement.

Dr John Nyamu, the executive director of Reproductive Health Services Kenya said the policy prevents Kenyan women and around the world from following accessing reproductive health care. 

“With a wave of his hand, President Obama could do the right thing for countless women by clarifying this dangerous interpretation,” Nyamu said. 

“We acted in the best democratic tradition of raising issues in a constructive way in the hopes that President Obama would find the compassion to listen to the voices of Kenyan medical experts who are too aware of how the Helms Amendment can tie the hands of those of us working at the frontlines for women’s health and reproductive justice,” he added.

Jon O’Brien, president for Catholics for Choice said they will continue to campaign for Obama to “do the right thing” and change the Helms policy.   We know that the administration and President Obama are aware of how unjust the Helms Amendment is, but the strictest interpretation of the policy persists.

In the remaining time that Obama is in office, we have a duty as citizens of the world to continue to bring this cruel, unnecessary and downright harmful policy to his attention,” O’Brien said.

This piece was originally published by The Star.