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April 17, 2015 (HLI.org) — Tanzania’s proposed constitutional referendum, which was laden with population control and gender ideology, provoked divisive debates in the African nation. For the time being, however, the radical proposals have been set aside.

The efforts of pro-life and pro-family advocates brought awareness to the radical nature of some elements of the proposed referendum. Of particular concern were the proposed anti-life clauses that appeared under the sections on disabled persons’ reproductive rights and women’s reproductive rights.

Pro-lifers are appealing to the government to include constitutional clauses that respect life from the moment of conception until natural death, traditional marriage, and the natural family as the basic cell of human society.

Government officials suspended the referendum. Fierce opposition to the referendum came from several different sectors of Tanzanian society. Catholic bishops and the Joint Christian Coalition Platform issued two separate statements condemning the entire constitutional writing process. Among the charges made by the religious leaders was what they deemed a clear bias toward the ruling political party in the proposed document, and the short period of debate and consideration allowed for the referendum.

HLI Tanzania led a country-wide campaign to expose the constitution’s pro-abortion agenda. Tanzanians were educated on the following points:

  • The proposed constitution does not state specifically that human life begins at the moment of conception. Though the constitution states that “human beings are equal,” it does not spell out clearly the scientifically-proven humanity of the unborn person or the rights of the unborn. Every unborn life deserves equal protection, respect, and recognition of her humanity.

  • Article 33 authorizes the government to mandate written laws regarding protection of life. Such clauses will not, however, prevent governments from enacting Draconian laws against life like allowing abortion and euthanasia. To be clear, of the right to life precedes any government’s authority. In addition, the first and basic cell of all society is the family, in which children are nurtured and protected. Therefore, the new constitution must state that the first and basic custodian of human life is the family, not the government.

  • Article 55 states that every disabled person has the right to good medical care and ‘safe motherhood.’ Though Tanzanians defeated the abortion-legalizing Safe Motherhood Bill in 2012, the constitutional referendum included conceptually the same measures — wide-scale promotion of contraception use, sex education in schools, abortion of handicapped unborn children, and sterilization. The concept ‘safe motherhood’ can easily become a prerequisite for eugenic practices. Imagine the tragedy of abortion on demand, intentionally selecting and killing handicapped unborn children!

  • Article 57 (f) promotes abortion under the language of safe reproductive health services for women. In reality, this is nothing other than abortion on demand. Of course women deserve the best possible medical care; but in no way does such care include abortion, the killing of innocent children.

  • The proposed constitution harbors homosexual and feminist ideologies which are dangerous to society, affecting life, marriage, family, and faith. Abortion, homosexuality, and radical feminism have remained taboos in Africa. This is why if Africans were educated about these anti-life clauses, they would not vote in favor of the referendum.

  • The constitution eliminates clauses that recognize the supremacy and importance of marriage and family.

By God’s graces, HLI’s two week pro-life educational mission to six dioceses reached many supportive bishops who helped reach the faithful because of their commitment to authentic teaching of Church doctrine on life and family issues. Though the referendum is now suspended, the Catholic faithful can support measures that affirm life and family values.

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I thank God every day for HLI’s supporters who believe in the proclamation of life and family in Africa where the Culture of Death has intensified — especially in Tanzania.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International

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