Europe is active in the pro-life arena despite a rapidly progressive climate

EDW
March 20, 2018

  Daniel Sveen

In Manchester, England, a group of 14-year-old girls were on their way to an abortion clinic. However, as they arrived at the location, they were met by pro-life activists who wanted to have a conversation about their impending decision. After speaking to them, the girls decided not to enter the abortion centres and said, “We think you are doing the right thing.”

This story was the work of 40 Days for Life, a locally organised, community-based campaign that originated out of College Station, Texas. According to their website, the campaign “takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families.” It encourages those who care about human dignity to take civil action and provide community outreach for 40 consecutive days. The growth of the campaign is nothing short of remarkable, rapidly becoming a worldwide phenomenon with over 750,000 volunteers from 715 cities in 44 nations.

 

‘40 Days for Life’ in Europe

Europe has been no stranger to this growth. Since 2014, Croatia has established 27 such campaigns, which have spread to 25 cities with over 10,000 volunteers. From Croatia, the movement has spread to Germany, Italy, Scotland, England, Wales, Spain, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, all with their own unique stories and attempts to save as many lives as possible. The project is simple and effective, with profound examples that leave participants emotionally stirred and, above all, grateful.

One example from Croatia has to do with a woman who decided against having an abortion after meeting and talking to participants of the campaign outside of an abortion clinic. When the woman subsequently went in for an ultrasound, she discovered that she was pregnant with twins. Not only was one life saved that day but two lives – and the long-lasting bond between the siblings continued without interruption.

However, the ’40 Days for Life’ campaign is not only directed at those seeking an abortion. It is aimed at employees of abortion clinics as well. Volunteers working on the campaign emphasize the importance of smiling, greeting, and talking with abortion clinic employees each day, before and after work. As a result, 170 abortion workers have since quit their jobs while 90 abortion facilities around the world have gone out of business. The results speak for themselves.

 

Why do we need ‘40 Days for Life’ in Europe?

It is estimated that abortion claims as many as 40 million lives worldwide every single year. In Europe alone, there were 4.4 million abortions from 2010 to 2014. Some countries have even aborted more babies than their entire population combined. Generations of potential classmates, siblings, doctors, and artists have been wiped out in the name of the pro-choice agenda. But despite greater awareness of the ravages of abortion, the question remains: Why are women still making the decision to abort in today’s culture?

According to Gilda Sedgh of the Guttmacher Institute, “Women’s primary reasons … to have an abortion often have to do with managing an array of responsibilities using only limited resources” Sedgh refers to a study that measured the responses of women across Europe who had undergone abortion procedures. The most common answers were financial worries and an interference with future plans or opportunities.

Further, a study by Dr. Robert Johnston, a leading academic in abortion statistics, confirmed that women seeking abortion in ‘hard cases’ – that is, in situations involving rape, incest, or protection of the mother’s life – are almost non-existent (less than 1%). This fact suggests that the majority of women are choosing to abort babies out of their own convenience.

But who is really to decide whether a person’s life is convenient for another? When we start to base the value of a human life on whether or not it suits us and our environment, we put it at risk. People start to consider new, unborn lives as just another ‘line of code’ that can be simply removed at any moment.

It is one thing when a person is able to defend themselves from an attacker; it is another matter entirely when a person is unable to put up a fight. That is why the right to life exists: to protect those who are most vulnerable. Such a principle is enshrined in various international treaties. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for example, declares that “[e]very human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” But abiding by such principles is the challenge for many people today.

 

Human life begins at conception

Societies throughout history have recognized that human life is valuable and precious from the moment of conception. Modern science also upholds this truth – and every day, new developments prove that life is evident inside the womb even at the earliest stages of the pregnancy.

In fact, as technology continues to advance, doctors are finding signs of life earlier in pregnancies than they ever have before. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that many would consider the heartbeat the clearest sign of life. Because of recent developments in technology, we have discovered that a baby’s heart starts beating at around three weeks after conception. This is significant – especially when we consider that 89% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks, according to CDC abortion data.

It is well worth noting that when doctors pronounce a human ‘dead’, they monitor their heartbeat. Once the heart is no longer beating, the person is considered to have passed away. In the same manner, there are human beings – with no ability to defend themselves – having their heart forcibly stopped. They are truly among the most vulnerable members of society.

And as technology progresses, researchers will certainly continue to find signs of life earlier and earlier within a pregnancy.

The ‘40 Days for Life’ campaign has a unique opportunity to make a massive impact in Europe. Since most European countries – such as Belgium and France – allow abortion up to the first trimester, and the first twelve weeks are the most common period for a woman to have an abortion, there is no better setting for a campaign like ‘40 Days for Life’. Europe is part of the ‘new frontier’ for the pro-life movement, which is growing every day. With ample opportunities for it to flourish, the campaign looks set to affect greater change among civil society in the coming years.