By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

DOUALA, Cameroon, July 17, 2009 ( – Over 20,000 people gathered in the southern Cameroon city of Douala last Saturday to stage a peaceful protest march against the country’s ratification of the Maputo Protocol, which led to the legalization of abortion throughout much of Africa “in cases of rape, incest or when the pregnancy is determined to put the mother’s physical or psychological health in danger.”

The march was led Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, Archbishop of Douala, on the sixth anniversary of the adoption of the Protocol by the second Ordinary Session of the African Union in Maputo, Mozambique, on July 11, 2003, the Fides news agency reported.

The marchers, some carrying placards which read “abortion is an abomination,” and “do not legalise sin,” marched for almost two hours and converged on Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral where a special Mass was said.

An interreligious delegation of Catholics, Protestants and Muslims also handed a letter and petition to the Governor, to be presented to the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, with 30,000 signatures, petitioning an end to legal abortion.

The Cameroon Bishops’ Conference published a declaration in January of this year in which it expressed its opposition to the legalization of abortion called for by the Protocol.

The coadjutor Archbishop of the Douala Archdiocese, Samuel Kleda said in the homily during the Mass, “We are in agreement with this praiseworthy project (of protecting women). Who can remain indifferent to the suffering of a woman? At the same time, we cannot pretend to defend women by proposing that they have an abortion and use contraception, which threatens their dignity and nuclear family. No reason can be used to justify abortion or infanticide.”

Talking to the press after the Mass, Cardinal Tumi said abortion was an abomination.

“The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI already spoke on this agreement. The association of the African conferences of Bishops and the one in Madagascar had spoken and quite a number of dioceses have already spoken.

“That is the reason why we organized this march and we ended with a Mass to pray for those who are involved in these practices for God to forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” Cardinal Tumi said in an AfricaNews report.

Chief A.S. Ngwana, leader of the Cardinal Democratic Party (CDP), a politician who has been very vocal against the Maputo Protocol and who joined in the march, said issues like abortion and homosexuality transcend politics since they concern the well being of future Cameroonians.

Chief Ngwana told a press conference that he would not hesitate to undertake a nationwide campaign against the Maputo Protocol until the Head of State withdrew Cameroon from it. He said legalizing abortion was “a ploy from the West to check the African population.”

See related LSN articles:

Cameroon Tells Pro-Abortion UN Committee “Abortion is Murder”

African Health Ministers Vote to Approve Protocol to Legalize Abortion Throughout Continent

Pope Benedict Decries “Bitter Irony” of Abortion as Human Right in Angola