Abortion on demand was legalized in South Africa

Abortion on demand was legalized in South Africa.

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Abortion on demand was legalized in South Africa

Fifteen years have passed since abortion on demand was legalized in
South Africa. Since then it is estimated that over one million unborn
children were denied the most fundamental of rights, the right to
life. We remember those one million babies. Those aborted fifteen
years ago would now be in grade 9 or 10, bringing joy to their
families and planning their own futures. Those whose lives were
‘terminated’ ten years ago would now be playing on the streets of our
towns and villages in the evenings and singing and praying with us in
our churches on Sunday. We regret that those children of God were
denied the right to be born into God’s world and to enrich it with
their own unique gifts and talents. We will never fully realize what
we have missed because the law says “abortion is fine”.

When the legislation was being discussed those in favour of it said it
would save some mothers from the dangers of what has become known as
“back-street abortions”. We question if this has in fact been the
case. On almost every electricity pole along the streets of our cities
and towns there are advertisements for ‘safe and painless’ abortions.
They are outside the Head Office of the Department of Health in
Pretoria and on the boundary walls of our schools. If the advertising
is so public and so widespread, then the demand for those” back-street
abortions” must be high.

The position of the Catholic Church on abortion is clear and
unambiguous. Just because the law says it is legal does not make it
morally right. Each unborn child is created by God, “knit together in
(its) mother’s womb” (Ps139.13). That unborn child is a human being
with a human life that must be protected. He or she has a right to
life, a right that must be respected by the mother and protected by
the state.

Another right that must be respected by the state and its agents is
that of conscientious objection. Those who believe that abortion is
morally wrong have a right to refuse to participate in the medical

All of us, parents, teachers, members of the Church, must understand
what a young girl is going through when she realizes she is pregnant.
She needs our love, our support, our understanding and sometimes our
forgiveness. We in the Church are committed to helping unmarried
pregnant girls and couples tempted to take the abortion route in
whatever way we can. We will never condemn, just as Jesus refused to
condemn (John8.11)

As we remember the many children who have been aborted since February
1997, we also remember the mothers of these children. Just as we do
not condemn a pregnant young girl, we do not condemn her if she made
the mistake of procuring an abortion. Only she knows how much she has
suffered as a result. She needs help and healing. We invite her to
come and speak to one of our priests or counselors so that we can be
part of reconciling her to God and bringing about healing.

Archbishop Buti  Tlhagale, OMI,
On behalf of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
30th January 2012
Copyright © 2012 Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, All
rights reserved.

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