South African bishops grieve 1 million ‘lost child

Those children killed by abortion 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,” Archbishop Buti observed.

BY Peter Baklinski

JOHANNESBURG, Republic of South Africa, February 8, 2012 (
– Fifteen years have come and gone since abortion was rammed through in
South African in the name of ‘reproductive rights.’ Catholic bishops in
the region have expressed regret at the loss of an estimated one million
children who were stripped of “the most fundamental of rights, the right
to life.”

“We remember those one million babies,” said Archbishop Buti Tlhagale on
behalf of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference that convened
at the end of January. The Conference is comprised of Catholic Bishops from
Botswana, South Africa, and Swaziland.

In November of 1996, South Africa enacted the Choice on Termination of
Pregnancy Act that allowed “every woman the right to choose whether to
have an early, safe and legal termination of pregnancy according to her
individual beliefs.”

The South African government at this time interpreted their constitution to
“protect the right of persons to make decisions concerning reproduction
and to security in and control over their bodies.”

The government stated in the Act that it was their “belief” that the
“termination of pregnancy is not a form of contraception or population

Archbishop Buti Tlhagale stated what he called the “clear and
unambiguous” position of the Catholic Church on abortion.

“Each unborn child is created by God, ‘knit together in (its) mother’s
womb’ (Ps 139.13). 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.”

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The archbishop pointed out that those aborted 15 years ago would now be in
high school and bringing “joy to their families and planning their own
futures.” He mentioned that those who were killed 10 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’.”

The archbishop called faithful Catholics to love and support any woman who
finds herself in a crisis pregnancy situation.

“She needs our love, our support, our understanding and sometimes our
forgiveness,” he said.

“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 (Jn 8.11).”

In a gesture of compassion, the archbishop also reached out to post-abortive
mothers with an offer of hope and healing.

“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.”

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