Tuesday 27 September 2011

Dr Margaret Ogola, the Kenyan pro-life humanitarian, has died

I have just heard the very sad news that Dr Margaret Ogola has died. On behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, I extend our deepest sympathy to George, her husband, and her six children.

I first encountered Dr Ogola in 1994 in Cairo at the United Nations Conference on Population and Development where I was lobbying on behalf of SPUC. A Kenyan paediatrician, Margaret worked at Kenyatta General Hospital in Nairobi, as a consultant paediatrician.

Margaret was speaking in Cairo at the forum for non-governmental organizations about her work at Kenyatta General Hospital.

She said that a woman in need of an antibiotic for a sick child would have to pay for the syringe, for the needle, and for the antibiotic, otherwise her child would not be treated. However, the same woman seeking contraception could get every variety under the sun at the brand new family planning clinic next to her hospital, completely free of charge, courtesy of Western nations.

As I wrote in SPUC's newspaper at the time Human Concern:
"Not one penny of the 17 billion US dollars which the Cairo Conference agreed to spend will go on treating sick children. However, a staggering 15 billion US dollars will be spent on population control."
In 1997, I travelled to Kenya with Peter Smith, an SPUC UN lobbyist, and Dr Jack Willke, known as the father of the US pro-life movement, to speak at a seminar, organized by Margaret on behalf of the Kenyan Catholic episcopal conference. The seminar was for church leaders, educationalists and health professionals on the battle against the international abortion lobby and its designs for Kenya.

In 2001, she wrote in support of SPUC's intervention in a court battle - in which the Family Planning Association was seeking to undermine the legal protection of unborn children in Northern Ireland. They were using the tactic, used by David Steel when he introduced the British Abortion Act, that the abortion law in Northern Ireland needed "clarification".

Margaret Ogola said in her letter to SPUC:
"There are very restrictive abortion laws in Kenya, as there are in the vast majority of African countries. Our abortion laws are actually based on the legal situation inherited from Britain before our independence. This certainly does not mean that the law is in need of any clarification; indeed far from it. The law is quite clear, and its implications are undisputed."

She continued:

"No government minister here in Kenya has ever sought to offer guidance as to the cases in which abortion would be allowed. It is not the place of the government or individual ministers to issue such guidance. There are many similarities between abortion law in Kenya and abortion law in Norther Ireland. Here there is no question of a minister issuing any guidelines relating to abortion.

"I wish to assure you that I am more than willing to provide any further information you may require in the course of court proceedings in Belfast ... "
Dr Ogola was not only a pro-life champion in Kenya and internationally. She was an award winning author (The River and the Source: see image above), and, in her own words in her letter to SPUC "a wife and a mother". In addition she was one of this century's and the last century's great African humanitarians as her obituary on the Strathmore University website today makes clear:
"In 1998, she became the National Executive Secretary for Health and Family Life at the Kenya Episcopal Conference until 2002. The job entailed co-ordinating the administration of over 430 health care facilities run by the Catholic Church in Kenya.

"The facilities offer about 20% of healthcare in Kenya.

"In November 2002, she became the Kenya co-ordinator of HACI (Hope for African Children Initiative), a partnership of several international NGOs – Plan, CARE, Save the Children, Society for Women and Aids, World Conference for Religion and Peace, and World Vision.

"Dr Ogola also helped found and manage the SOS HIV/AIDS Clinic (April 2004 –April 2005), which is a clinic for people living with Aids (PLWAs). The clinic offers VCT, provision of ART and nutritional support to 1000 persons from the surrounding slums: women, men and children."
Visiting the Ogolas' home in Nairobi in 1997 was humbling. The simplicity with which she and George, also a doctor, and their large family lived - and carried out their selfless humanitarian work - is something I will never forget.

And neither must we forget Kenya - and all African nations - so cruelly targeted by the worldwide population control lobby, led by Barack Obama and the US administration.

As Dr Ogola told the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing:
Unless we recognise that each individual is irrepeatable and valuable by virtue of simply being conceived human, we cannot begin to talk about human rights. This includes the right to be born, as all of us have enjoyed. True justice should be for each human being, visible and invisible, young and old, disabled and able, to enjoy fully their right to life. The accidental attributes that we acquire such as colour, sex intelligence, economic circumstances, physical or mental disability should not be used as an excuse to deprive a person of life.
I strongly encourage everyone to read the whole of this excellent speech entitled 'The Dignity of African Women'.

May Dr Margaret Ogola, award winning author, medical doctor, and human rights advocate, and selfless friend of unborn children and their mothers worldwide, rest in peace.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy