In his Christmas message the bishop of Uganda’s Kasana-Luweero Diocese denounced a renewed campaign to legalize abortion in the African country and insisted that deliberately taking unborn life is “both evil and murder.”
Bishop Paul Ssemwogere said he had learned that renewed efforts by pro-abortion activists and government health officials to push for the legalization of abortion are being funded by “donor countries,” that is, foreign countries that provide aid to Uganda.
He said the argument that legalization would reduce deaths that occur from unsafe abortion is unjustifiable and instead suggested that efforts be directed towards preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Before international pressure foisted a massive condom campaign on the country, Uganda was the only African nation that effectively dealt with the HIV/AIDS epidemic by focusing on the only real way to stem the spread of the deadly virus: urging people to change their risky sexual behavior by abstaining from sex before marriage and by being faithful to their spouse.
When President Museveni’s ABC policy (Abstain before marriage, Be faithful after, and use Condoms only when absolutely necessary) was implemented in 1992, the adult HIV/AIDS infection rate was 30 percent in the capital of Kampala and other large urban areas, and the national life expectancy for the entire country was only 44 years.
But in the next decade, the adult HIV/AIDS infection rate dropped 80 percent, to six percent in 2002, and the life expectancy rose by eight years. However, Western governments and NGOs have been successful in their attempts to destroy the ABC program by forcing an acceptance of greater use of condoms and hormonal contraceptives, leading to more risky sexual behavior, and resulting in rising HIV/AIDS rates.
Bishop Ssemwogere said that, like the debate on the Marriage and Divorce bill which threatened to “render the entire institution of marriage meaningless,” members of Parliament should stand firm on the sanctity of life as accepted by most Ugandans and discard any bill presented in parliament that seeks to legalize the killing of pre-born children.
Bishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of the Archdiocese of Kampala echoed Bishop Ssemwogere's statements in his own Christmas message, saying his country faces many challenges, not the least of which is a promotion of the culture of death.
“We are struggling with a corrupt environment in which we live. Why should we do what is evil and shun that which is good? Let us not pay evil with evil, but with good,” Bishop Lwanga said.
Political and pro-life leaders welcomed the bishops' statements.
Brenda Nabukenya, the Luweero District Member of Parliament, told Uganda Radio Network that although she was not aware of the fresh campaign for abortion, she condemns the practice because it is against African cultural norms.
Nabukenya added that legalizing abortions cannot save women from death, given the fact that many health centers across the country are not even equipped to safely carry out simple operations.
Fr. Ambrose Bwangatto, Dean of Studies at St. Mbaaga's Major Seminary and a member of Pro-Life Uganda, questioned why abortion is promoted as “the most immediate and urgent and safe method to advocate for women's health.”
“I find it perplexing for the health officials and policy makers to always propose controversial procedures like abortion to advocate for safe motherhood. Abortion has been and will remain a contested topic because, although, it has existed throughout history and amongst all peoples, but no particular society has given an outright approval of this procedure. This is so, because it is brutal, traumatizing and degrading to the dignity of the human person,” Fr. Bwangatto wrote in an editorial published in AllAfrica.
At a pro-life conference in Kampala Fr. Bwangatto reiterated that human life begins at conception, and while abortion is legal in many countries this does not mean that the act is acceptable before God, so promoting the right to life of the unborn is a moral imperative for Christians.
“Fighting against abortion is missionary work which should be carried out by everyone who loves life,” said Fr. Bwangatto. “We encourage youth and adults to play a big role wherever they are in advocating against abortion with the aim of minimizing the vice that is rampant in various societies of the world. If we do not stand on our legs millions of children that get into the wombs of their would-be mothers will never live to speak for themselves,” he said.
Urging pro-life Ugandans to “come out boldly and be advocates of the voiceless children,” Fr. Bwangatto added that, “Abortion is a crime, which no human law should claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in anyone's conscience to obey such a law as there is a grave responsibility to oppose and strongly object to this immoral practice.”