Can You Stop Pro-Lifers by Arresting Them?

As this week’s Spirit & Life goes out, I am preparing to board the last leg of my trip to Belarus. I just met HLI’s Joannes Bucher here in Frankfurt, Germany, and he is as excited as I am to get rolling on this pro-life mission.

Joannes Bucher
Joannes Bucher

Joannes, our regional director for Europe, arranged this mission with HLI’s affiliate in Belarus, the Open Hearts Foundation, which is run by Vladislav Volokhovich. We will arrive in Minsk this evening, and will spend more than a week meeting with and energizing pro-lifers, encouraging and guiding them as they strategize and grow their own work. We will also have meetings with various leaders in the Church and in politics and culture who work on all levels of Belarus’s society to protect life and family.

Now, we do not expect trouble with the authorities. After many decades of terribly destructive policies and cultural assaults perpetrated on this nation the Belorussian people are expressing greater openness to the message of life. This constant battle is in different stages around the world — in the United States the Culture of Death still has the upper hand, though the momentum among the people and at the state political level is toward life.
The battle lines are uneven. This week saw the investigators from the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleidin and Sandra Merritt, respond to a warrant by turning themselves in at a Houston police station to be booked. A Houston grand jury, as most of us know, had been presented a case to indict Planned Parenthood for its illegal sale of the parts of babies they had killed, and instead of investigating and indicting Planned Parenthood, the prosecutor had the investigators who unveiled this barbaric practice indicted. Using the same tactics that investigators have long used to expose injustices that continue without the scrutiny of law, they find themselves accused of crimes.

Once evil infects the structures of a society, such injustices are to be expected. This has happened many times in history, though it is always troubling to see such flagrant injustice so close to home. Sometimes, however, such overreach from the allies of the Culture of Death has unintended effects. Today we also have a story that I am going to ask you to share far and wide, one which resonates with the intimidation and humiliation being visited upon Mr. Daleidin and Ms. Merritt. Uganda, long a bastion of great respect for life and family that has been in the crosshairs of the “aid” and “development” industry (read: population control industry), is again the setting for a renewed assault from the Culture of Death. We already know how it goes, if not all the details.

A document that lays out “guidelines” for “safe abortion” was formally adopted by the Ugandan Ministry of Health last summer. As you can guess, it was basically written by US-funded NGOs who profit from abortion, and who think that the world would be a better place without so many African children. After years of what is referred to in Africa as the “facilitation” of politicians, a bill to expand legal access to abortion is about to be presented to the Parliament. When will the bill be considered? Think of how the “democratic” process around Obamacare happened here in 2010: The bill will be presented when they think they can win, when enough arms have been twisted and palms greased.

Father Jonathan Opio speaking to over 8,000 at a Pro-Life Rally in Uganda
Father Jonathan Opio speaking to over 8,000 at a Pro-Life Rally in Uganda

But there is resistance. HLI Uganda, led by Father Jonathan Opio, has been working on many levels to stop the assault. There is some political resistance, though HLI’s ability to provide “facilitation” is no match for that of the Western elites.

He has als0 been coordinating a ground-level campaign collecting signatures against the Guidelines and the soon-to-be-announced bill. For their efforts, three of his team members were arrested for “inciting violence,” though no one could say exactly how or against whom. His accusers were nowhere to be found.

Please read and share Father Opio’s story here. We need as many people praying for him and his team, and for the success of their efforts, as possible.

As always, I am grateful and humbled to be serving God in the cause of life and family with the courageous missionaries of HLI, and with you all!

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