No Abortion Since Colonial Times…until 2014
Word reached HLI in July, 2007 that the parliament of Mozambique had very quietly introduced an abortion bill. Before becoming law, the bill still required a presidential signature to legalize death to the unborn.
Though abortion had been illegal since colonial times, pro-abortionists called for unlimited abortion through 12 weeks, 16 weeks in cases of rape.
HLI Director for Anglophone Africa, Emil Hagamu, headed to Mozambique and waged war against abortion on radio and TV for 30 consecutive days. Hagamu: “HLI really won, it was in sync with public opinion. Africans don’t want abortion. Surveys at the end of September showed 95% of men and 80% of women opposed abortion.” In November of that year, Parliament sent back the bill to the people, rejected due to lack of public support.
Back Door Politics in Mozambique
Seven years later, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza ignored the will of the people and signed the bill into law December, 2014. The following year homosexuality was decriminalized. This despite what the BBC reported, 87% of the population opposed homosexuality.
Fast Forward to October, 2017
With abortion and homosexuality legal, HLI’s Emil Hagamu is back, on another week-long mission visit to the capital, Maputo. During the last week of October, his challenge was to proclaim the pro-life message, technically an “illegal” act, as abortion and homosexuality are law. Like the Catholic Church, which has protested through Bishops’ pastoral letters and Sunday mass homilies across the nation, HLI again stepped up to the plate.
“In you young people there is hope, for you belong to the future…” – Pope Saint John Paul II
This week Hagamu spoke to Eduardo Mondlane University students, seminarians, the Archbishop of Maputo, catechists and members of the Consolata Congregation. The highlight? The young people, the ones that Pope Saint John Paul II loved so much.
The students – at least 4 of them pregnant – are haunted that their own government made abortion law against the will of a majority of Mozambicans. They are angry at their government for cowardly succumbing to western propaganda. So, like the Catholic Church and HLI, these 20 students have now resolved to add their numbers to the grassroots opposition, working as a pro-life group. As a gift until the next mission trip, they received HLI’s “Pro-Life Handbook” as their weapon against the Culture of Death and a welcoming hand of assistance.
Fostering Pro-Life Clergy
Mid-week I met Holy Sacrament Religious Order seminarians. Gathered in a tiny study room, I told them abortion and homosexual laws were passed in part because of silence and apathy on issues of life, marriage and family. They, too, decided the time was past for complaining, to form their own pro-life group and the Rector promised to be their chaplain.
Then, for the fourth time in its history, HLI met with a pro-life warrior, the Archbishop of Maputo, His Grace Fransisco Chimoio, O.F.M. Cap. In 2007 he supported HLI in its critical opposition defeating the abortion bill. In 2012, he appointed a priest, Fr. Jonasse Jose, to coordinate all pro-life diocesan activities and, in 2017, he enabled me to speak with 50 priests of his Archdiocese.
Reflecting on the current abortion and homosexual laws, he was livid. The Archbishop: “The church did all it could to halt the legalization process…but coercion and corruption played a major and decisive role.” The Archbishop showed me pastoral letters bishops wrote warning Catholic faithful against the 2007 abortion bill and, later, the homosexual bill. The letters were read every Sunday so faithful would hear the full message.
His Grace wondered how Catholic Members of Parliament could make a law to kill unborn babies as if “they never had the chance to learn the Catechism and the Holy Bible’s condemnation of abortion. In the churches, you will find them sitting in front, the first to receive Holy Communion, as if their consciences did not haunt them.”
The Archbishop was even angrier at a Spanish population control group which came to his diocese disguising itself as a charity for orphans. The Archbishop had 90 hectors of land used to grow farm produce to feed diocesan orphans. Upon request, he entrusted the land to the “charity”, only to discover that instead of food, the group was dispensing contraceptives and abortifacient drugs to the kids. The couple in charge then illegally distributed the land and had to be evicted by the Archbishop.
Years later they returned, saying they only wished to greet the orphans. He realized two weeks later after they left they had stolen all the orphanage money, colluding with and bribing bank management. The Archbishop lamented: “Instead of giving us food, they gave us poison to kill us, to depopulate us so they can continue to take away our natural resources and colonize us again.”
HLI and the Archbishop concluded by laying strategy to combat the Culture of Death in Mozambique. Grassroots pro-life activities impressed the Archbishop. But both men agreed to also include key advocacy and media campaigns. Hagamu suggested starting more pro-life groups in all institutions of higher learning and in major seminaries — these will generate the future leaders of the country. Archbishop Chimoio ended by extending an invitation to train Mozambican seminarians next year, when HLI returns to its friends in Christ in Mozambique.