Emil Hagamu

An inside view: abortion is foreign to Africa

Emil Hagamu
By Emil Hagamu
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October 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - So-called progressive organizations are attempting to paint a false picture of abortion in Africa. 

In a recent report written by Kapya John Kaoma for the “progressive” group Political Research Associates, the author personally attacks myself and the organization I represent, Human Life International (HLI), claiming we are using Christianity to “destroy innocent lives” and “colonize” African culture through our work to protect the sanctity of life and the sanctity of the family.

In the author’s warped view of Christianity and of African culture, we are led to believe that Africans have traditionally embraced abortion, and that those who rely on Christian teaching to show the immorality of abortion are attempting to subdue traditional values in Africa. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The report claims that in Africa “abortion is widely accepted as a personal matter, even when viewed as morally wrong.” HLI is attacked for exposing an illegal abortion in Uganda because it is supposedly a “stark deviation from African culture” to make such things public. The author even charges HLI with making the apparently ridiculous claim that “birth control is a Western import,” and attacks our work against contraception when it is widely known that tens of millions of dollars’ worth of contraceptives are literally imported annually from Western nations. Western governments and NGOs boast of this fact in their annual reports and web sites. Why Mr. Kaoma would deny this is a question worth asking.

I think that most people realize that using the privacy of a matter to defend its morality is a questionable tactic. Female circumcision also happens in private and is widely practiced in some African nations. Is Mr. Kaoma suggesting that there should therefore be no laws against this cruel practice? Should this also be considered a “personal matter,” and thus be left unprosecuted by authorities?

In African communities, the death of a child is no small matter. We have never “accepted” abortion in African culture. Expanded legalization of abortion is being forced upon us by the traditional colonizing powers of the West, who are using their money and power to “destroy innocent lives.” Pro-life Christians are working, with limited sums, to protect our culture.

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Growing up in a remote area of Tanzania, I attended my primary education in a rural setting. I never even left my village until I went to university, where I specialized in languages and African literature. Together with my studies in sociology, my perspective broadened greatly as I learned about African cultures through various literary works, and as I learned how the culture of people is embodied in its language. While investigating whether or not any African language has any word or phrase that would correspond to the English word “abortion,” I have yet to find a single example. You would think something so “widely accepted” in our culture would be named.

I speak two local languages, Kinyanja and Kimatengo, neither of which has a word for abortion. Among the Igbo in Nigeria, human life is widely respected and any attempt to kill unborn human life is regarded as an abomination. When I asked colleagues in Sudan two years ago if they have word for abortion, they laughed at me and said they have never heard of such a word. I have also asked the Sotho in Lesotho, the Swazi in Swaziland, the Shona in Zimbabwe, the Chewa in Malawi and the Baganda in Uganda – all of whom unequivocally said they do not have word for abortion. Instead, they told me, there is a word for miscarriage. There is also often a special rite to bury the body of a stillborn baby, usually only women were involved. In fact, the rite was done so respectfully and secretly that children were not allowed to know.

So the claim that “since abortion is widely accepted as a personal matter, even when viewed as morally wrong” is utterly false and is meant to whitewash the imposition of a foreign concept into an African cultural setting. Until recent years, there was little or no abortion practice in Africa – and it was certainly not considered acceptable if it was practiced. It has always been viewed as morally wrong, and that is why it cannot be treated as merely a personal matter, any more than any other morally offensive practice. This is why those who have tried to forcefully introduce abortion in Africa have in large part failed.

Indeed, those who are still trying to bring abortion into Africa have tried to sell the evil practice by calling it “safe abortion.” But with a few sad exceptions they have yet to succeed. In an obscure provision (Article 14 (2)(c)), the Maputo Protocol tried to introduce abortion by appealing to exceptions such as abortion for rape, incest, for the mother’s life or health, but has not succeeded either. In Tanzania, the abortion lobby, through the deceptively named “Safe Motherhood Bill,” included exceptions to allow abortion for the woman’s physical or mental health, in the case that the child would be physically or mentally disabled and even if the mother suffers from a mental disability.

By using the concept “safe motherhood” abortion proponents thought it would appeal to the African mind. It has not and it will never convince African fathers and mothers to kill their unborn children “safely.” For, in truth, there is no “safe abortion.” People in Africa know in every abortion one person is killed, one person is wounded and one person gets paid.

Sadly, this attempt to expand abortion access in Tanzania has been led by a development organization that until recently has enjoyed great respect in Africa, CARE International. When I held a press conference to condemn the hidden expansion of abortion in the “Safe Motherhood” bill, I was contacted by CARE representatives who apparently thought they could change my mind. Since my reply to them, I have not heard back.

The fact that CARE International is now a leading promoter of both abortion and contraception in Africa should give serious pause to any government or Christian organization who is thinking about working with them. Interestingly, even CARE does not seem to care for the word “abortion” very much either, since they only refer to it and to contraception under the name of “reproductive health,” which they now say is as essential as food, water and shelter in “helping” Africans who are in emergency situations.

So it is true that abortion, like contraception, is an import from the West into African countries; a “gift” from those who seem to think that there are too many Africans. And now after gaining the support of liberal members of our society – radical feminists and gender activists – through media and financial incentives, a number of women do undergo abortions. But this does not in any way mean that abortion is accepted by a majority of women. That is why any attempt to use the Parliament to enact abortion laws has been met with stiff resistance by life-loving parliamentarians who still faithfully represent their constituents.

Emil Hagamu is HLI’s Regional Coordinator for Anglophone Africa.

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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