Approximately 550 jubilant anti-abortion protesters braved relentless, pouring rain to take part in the National March for Life in Umhlanga, Durban on Sunday (October 7).
Pro-lifers of all ages walked, singing and making declarations for 4 km around Gateway Mall, Umhlanga, at times stopping traffic while they crossed streets. Motorists showed support with hooters blowing and their thumbs up!
The substantial march turnout took Metro Police and marshals by surprise. They expected that the rain would dampen the response to the National Alliance for Life’s (NAL) urgent call on pro-lifers to revive the National March for Life. One officer said it was the first time in 17 years with the police that he had seen anything like the march. Another said: “It is kind of exciting seeing a lot of people standing against abortion!”
Elsewhere in South Africa on Sunday, about 100 Christians formed a Life Chain in Cape Town, and Life Chains also took place in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and East London. Up to a million Christians in about 1 800 locations around the world took part in Life Chains on Sunday to pray and stage peaceful protests against the killing of babies through abortion. According to official Department of Health statistics, 1 010 019 babies have been killed by abortion in South Africa since abortion-on-demand was legalised in 1997. Possibly millions more have been killed by illegal abortions.
Danie Bosman, President of Christians for Truth SA, says he and his team participated in the first annual National March for Life since abortion was legalized because they believe that every life is sacred from conception. He said that abortion is devastating to both the country and to society.
A group of youth from Mighty Revival Ministries arrived full of energy in purple T-shirts and with a large banner stating “I am Pro Life”. Their leader said they wanted to support what they believe.
The enthusiastic support for the march was encouraging, particularly after some of the 20 delegates at a NAL conference in Durban the day before (Saturday, October 6) reported that many churches were silent on abortion, were unwilling to participate in marches or support pro-lifers, were afraid to address the issue because members were having abortions, and that church foundations were crumbling because of abortion and pornography.
Rev Jeremy Smith of the Presbyterian Church does not fit the church profile presented at the conference. He led the devotion at the NAL gathering and participated in the March for Life. His devotion centred on Exodus 1:7-22 where God-fearing Hebrew midwives were blessed after they defied the king’s instructions to kill male babies. He mentioned that ‘Judgement begins in the house of God’.
One of the conference speakers said that Africa has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world in the 15-19 age group (which, according to Stats SA, was 160 754 between July 2008 and July 2010). It was also mentioned that according to statistics the population of KZN has decreased because of illegal abortions.
Charlene Thompson, of Paarl, said she came to the March for Life to help create awareness that killing a baby doesn’t get you out of the problem, it just worsens it! She said she had an abortion in 1996 and it affected her in a terrible way. It was done at a Mary Stopes Clinic without any counselling, after being pressurised by her gynaecologist and mother. She says it was the worst advice she ever took from anyone. The guilt that followed was enormous and she became an alcoholic and took drugs to numb the emotional pain caused by the fact that she had killed a baby. She regrets it, but is now married and has three children from her own womb and one foster child.
Another marcher Roxanne Greyling said she had an abortion 13 years ago and she wants to tell as many people as she can about the dangers of having an abortion and how it can ruin your future. The after effects she suffered included depression, guilt feelings, flashbacks and visions of terrible things haunting her day and night. She said it really is not worth it. She has been totally set free by Jesus Christ; so much so that it feels like she is telling a story about someone else.
The consensus was that the NAL under the chair of Dr Albu Van Eeden, has successfully revived the annual March for Life, with the help of various organisations such as Doctors for Life International, Christians for Truth, Radio Khwezi, Metro Police and others. According to Duschania Pillay, one of the organizers, the feedback has only been positive and many are offering support for 2013.
At the Cape Town Life Chain, which was held on the centre island of Buitengracht Street (near the entrance to the Waterfront), Cheryllyn Dudley, a Member of Parliament on the Health Portfolio Committee said: “Without the Right to Life, all other human rights are meaningless. If South Africans who are pro-life want to have a voice in Parliament, they must ensure that they vote for pro-life parties at the next elections.”