BUCHAREST, March 22, 2013 (Human Life International) - In a nation where the people and culture have been poisoned for decades by atheistic materialism and its many toxic fruits, the damage can best be measured only with time. Memorials, museums and the stories told by elder Romanians attest to the darkness into which this once great nation was plunged, even as a cursory glance at Romania’s culture reveals the extent to which it remains bound by its history.

The scars that mark the destructive legacy of Communism, though most evident on Romania’s landscape and in its museums, have left their most painful legacy in the hearts of Romanians. Having been deeply wounded by four decades of deprivation of freedom of expression and religion, Romanians have, like those in other former Eastern Bloc nations, confused post-communist freedom with the libertinism of the declining West. The result: a continuation of many of the ruinous practices once inflicted on a nation, but which are this time freely, if ignorantly, chosen.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that Romania has one of the highest abortion rates in Europe with 480 abortions for every 1,000 live births—a figure that is double the official EU abortion average. In 1990, Romania’s ration of abortions to live births was a horrific three to one. Today, Romania’s abortion rate is second only to Russia’s in Europe. According to government figures, from 1958 to 2008 over 22 million human beings lost their lives through abortion—more than the current Romanian population.

Also troubling is the fact that opinion surveys conducted between 2005 and 2011 show an increase in people who are indifferent when asked if they believe that abortion is murder, from 25% to 42%. The category of abortion supporters remained constant, and those who consider abortion a crime became fewer (from 56% to 43%). To be sure, Western media and culture are undermining what many had hoped would be a strong development push in Romania. It’s hard to see a bright future when the next generation is seen as a threat to progress.

This is not to say that everyone has bought into the malaise that the West has offered as an alternative to Romania’s past. Pro-lifers in major cities and are preparing the March for Life in Romania on Saturday, March 23. Cities participating include: Alba-Iulia, Arad, Bacău, Bistrița, Brașov, București, Caracal, Cluj-Napoca, Constanța, Craiova, Deva, Fălticeni, Iași, Onești, Oradea, Pitești, Satu Mare, Sf. Gheorghe, Slatina, Suceava, Târgoviște, Timișoara, Tg. Mureș, Tulcea. And villages: Zoițani, Adășeni, Tudor Vladimirescu (jud. Botoșani)

And elsewhere in Europe we have seen politicians and researchers expressing growing concern not with overpopulation, but with the threat of population decline; and its implications for pensions, employment, and other economic factors in their countries. In Romania, the issue is still avoided by politicians and mainstream media, or when forced into the national conversation, the tone is one of shocking indifference. Hence the openness to Romania’s own March for Life, which has great support from almost all Christian denominations and organizations. The first condition to succeed in the fight for life is the unity of all Christians taking action against abortion.

We believe that this March for Life is a moment of awakening in the Romanian consciousness—it’s God’s time. Looking at graphs of Romania’s abortion rates, the data on our demographic and economic situation, and the imminent reversal of the population pyramid, the number of people who do not understand the urgency of Romania’s situation is shrinking.

In the week before the March, the organizers sent a petition to Romanian politicians, signed by more than 70 organizations, that requires urgent reconsideration of how human life is seen in all stages of development, and how the family must be supported in the Romanian legislation. The politicians were warned that “the perpetuation of the current situation will result in a failed recovery, the collapse of the pension and health care systems and, within a few generations, the disappearance of the Romanian nation.”

We hope that the March for Life, and a growing number of other pro-life and pro-family initiatives will awaken our leadership, while they still have a nation to govern. And as always, we are grateful to God for the rallying of the Romanian people! While there is time, there is hope, and with this hope we will continue to organize Romanians and insist that a true Culture of Life is the only way forward for our beloved nation.

Gerda Chişărău is the director of the Gift of Life Association, the Romanian affiliate of Human Life International. This story is reprinted with HLI's permission.