2016 - 2018: The Abortion Worldwide Report project, covering the policies of 196 nations, and reported abortion data for 100 nations and territories, compiled over a period of 35 years.
2015: Dominican Republic Uganda South Africa
Victory for Life! The Constitution of the Dominican Republic declares, "The right to life is invioable from conception to death" (Article 37), and the Penal Code prohibits abortion absolutely (Article 317). In 2014, to strenghten the capacity of the government to protect preborn babies and pregnant mothers, the National Congress submitted a revised Penal Code to President Danilo Medina Sánchez. But in December 2014, he vetoed the revision, and sent to Congress his own version with exceptions to authorize abortion. The required constitutional steps to change the law were not adhered to, so legal cases were filed with the Constitutional Tribunal. On 2 December 2015, the Constitutional Tribunal of the Dominican Republic ruled against the unconstitutional attempt to change the Penal Code. Praise the Lord for this righteous and just decision!
God answered the prayers of many pastors and Christians in the DR, and those of us standing with them. Also, the Global Life Campaign co-labored with the Dominican Network of Christian Lawyers in submitting a briefing paper that may have influenced this successful outcome. That briefing paper contains Biblical, historical, legal, constitutional, medical, sociological, and other reasons to protect life and prohibit abortion.
Uganda & South Africa Trip Report
Update: Victory for Life in Uganda! Father Jonathan Opio courageously led a successful effort in 2015 and 2016 to block an unlawfully created abortion policy, and a bill that would have authorized abortion. Praise to the Lord and Giver of life!
29 October - 25 November 2015
Thomas W. Jacobson, Executive Director, Global Life Campaign
Trip Origin & Purpose: A pastor returned from Africa and informed me of the great pressure that Uganda is under to authorize abortion, so I sought confirmation directly from Ugandans. I contacted Fr. Jonathan Opio, Director of Human Life International Uganda; Richard Sempala, CEO of Africa Life Youth Foundation; and Uganda diplomats I knew from prior work at the United Nations. I inquired of the situation and offered to produce a briefing paper if it would be helpful to them, titled, “24 Reasons the Republic of Uganda Should Preserve Good Laws Prohibiting Abortion.” That was done, and Fr. Opio and Mr. Sempala signed onto the briefing paper, but appealed to me to come to Uganda because of the seriousness of the situation. The Uganda Ministry of Health had already published an unlawful policy authorizing abortion, and pro-abortion groups were launching a signature campaign to call upon Parliament to change the law and authorize abortion on demand.
Abortion is illegal in Uganda (and 20 other nations in Africa) except “for the preservation of the mother’s life” (Article 224, Penal Code). The Constitution guarantees the “right to life,” including of “an unborn child” (Article 22.2). The MoH policy violates Ugandan law.
Fr. Opio emailed me the Uganda Ministry of Health (MoH) abortion policy, published in April 2015, titled, “Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion in Uganda: Standards and Guidelines.” In reading the policy, the following became clear:
The language was that of international pro-abortion groups, who do not respect the beliefs or culture of Ugandans. This was confirmed in the “Acknowledgements” and participants’ lists. Ipas, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes appear to be the ones who initiated and overtook the policy process, in collaboration with organizations they fund and selected like-minded Ugandans in government.
If fully enacted, the government, hospitals, clinics, and schools of Uganda would be transformed into contraception supporting and providing, and abortion supporting, providing or mandatory referring centers nationwide, for children as young as age 10.
Abortion would be permitted for any reason that could be construed under “health,” up to 27 weeks of pregnancy, and for any “unintended” pregnancy or woman in “crisis.”
Pro-Life Campaign Uganda: I traveled to Africa and was in Uganda, 31 October to 17 November. We conducted an exceptionally successful campaign of meetings with church, government, pro-life, and NGO leaders (see following pages). Fr. Opio would speak first, giving an overview of the policy and our concerns. Then I would go through the specifics of the MoH policy, as well as give a global view of nations and abortion, revealing Africa as the most pro-life continent, and exhorting them not to make the same mistakes as the U.S., U.K., and other nations. Then we would appeal to them to use their influence to oppose and raise awareness of this policy and the bill being drafted to make it law. Not one of those we met with had seen the MoH policy, and everyone was alarmed and grateful for our briefing.
Teaching Pastors in Uganda and South Africa: Richard Sempala, in addition to his pro-life and social service work, trains pastors in villages. At his invitation, I invested a day with him to teach village pastors and their wives in the Luwero area of Uganda, teaching from the Scriptures on the sanctity of human life.
In South Africa, at the invitation of Brent Myers, head of a Bible College, I had the same opportunity to teach pastors in one of the poor areas.
Orientation and strategy meeting of pro-life groups:
Richard Sempala, CEO, Africa Life Youth Foundation (start on left);
Thomas Jacobson, Executive Director, Global Life Campaign;
Fr. Jonathan Opio, Country Director, & Brian Tandeka, Human Life International Uganda;
plus 2 ALYF workers.
After birth, Richard’s mother dumped him in a trashcan, but where she knew someone would find him. He has nothing but gratitude in his heart toward God and his mother, and invests his life in teaching and training young people, pastors and other leaders, doing pro-life ministry work, and rescuing people.
Fr. Opio is a Catholic priest who leads HLI Uganda and is in law school. He has an exceptional mind for religious, legal, and political matters.
Brian Tandeka came from poverty, but by God's grace is in law school, and is a noble right-hand man to Fr. Opio (and to me while in Uganda). His 3 siblings died very young, but God has great purposes for his life.
Peterson participated in the same meeting. He has a pro-life ministry called Care African Youth, a Ugandan working mostly in South Africa the past 10 years. A traumatic incident launched him into pro-life work. He and a friend were waiting at a bus stop on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe, when they noticed two young ladies go off into the bush. Then they heard screaming, so came quickly, and witnessed one girl bleed to death, with a little dead baby expelled from her body. She had taken abortifacient pills.
First million! Thomas exchanged U.S. dollars for over 1 million Uganda Schillings.
A leader we met with said it is very difficult to convince young people to be sexually pure and abstinent in the face of heavy promotion of condoms and contraception.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) widely promotes condoms in Uganda, especially around the capital city of Kampala, including near the entrances of Makerere University, the largest university in East Africa, with over 40,000 students. The rare “I’m faithful to my man” poster attempts to tie into the Uganda “Be faithful” in marriage campaign, but implies one man at a time outside of marriage.
This prominet American presence in the capital city of Uganda, undermining their national AB program (Abstinence before marriage, and Be faithful within marriage), was disturbing to me. Fr. Opio observed that these displays are not from the Uganda Government, but what the U.S. Government thinks Uganda needs.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is a big promoter of condoms, and may be unlawfully providing or facilitating abortion services in many locations throughout Uganda.
The Human Life International Uganda and Global Life Campaign pro-life team conducted two weeks of meetings in Uganda during November 2015.
L-R: Joseline, secretary of Human Life International Uganda.
Fr. Jonathan Opio, Director, HLI Uganda.
Thomas Jacobson, Executive Director, GLC.
Brian Tandeka, staff, HLI Uganda.
From Kampala, we drove 6 hours north to Gulu, to meet with Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference. As head of the Catholic Church in Uganda, we encouraged him to use his office to appeal to the government to withdraw the abortion policy and oppose the abortion bill. He was grateful for our briefing, and was overseeing the preparations for the visit of Pope Francis on 27 November 2015.
On right, Brian points to Nile River. The headwater of the Nile is Lake Victoria, which is the southern border of Uganda.
Back in Kampala, we met with Archbishop Jonah Lwanga & Fr. Emmanuel Ssekyeewa, at the headquarters of the Orthodox Church of Uganda. When he first looked at the policy document, Archbishop Lwanga thought we favored abortion. When we explained our opposition, he was relieved, and we all broke out in laughter.
Meeting at Uganda Joint Christian Council, with Rev. Fr. Dr. Silvester A. Rwomukubwe, Executive Director (back to window), and attorney Joseph (back to camera). The UJCC was formed over 50 years ago, and has a great vision for Christians from all denominations in Uganda; namely, to be a "Christian witness through harmonious co-exitence," upholding "Christian values" of "Love, Justice, Truthfulness, Peace and Reconciliation."
Above: Uganda Parliament building and meeting with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. Like everyone else we met with, she had not seen the MoH policy, so we gave her a copy and explained its provisions. Also, I gave her the “24 Reasons” briefing paper, a pocket edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a book about the Declaration’s formation.
Left: Meeting with Fr. Phillip Balikudembe, Chaplain of Parliament, who took several copies of the MoH policy to give to church leaders and Members of Parliament. L-R: Thomas Jacobson, the Chaplain, Fr. Jonathan Opio, and Joseline. The Chaplain promised to use his influence to talk with parliamentarians and others about the MoH policy and abortion bill.
Meeting with Richard Oseku, candidate for Parliament, who is in law school with Fr. Opio. He may form a pro-life caucus and become its leader in Parliament. He asked, “What is law?” and was open to a Biblical and historical understanding of law
Left: Thomas and Brian met with Ambassador Rossette Nyirinkindi Katungye, Director for Regional Affairs, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thomas co-labored with her when she was a diplomat at the Uganda Mission to the United Nations (NY), when he represented Focus on the Family to the UN. She is a strong Christian and pro-life, and quickly arranged for Thomas to meet with Eunice Musiime.
Right: Thomas and Brian met with Eunice Musiime, a lawyer who heads 3 women’s organizations, including being Executive Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika. She is a Christian and pro-life. She and other women are seeking to influence the women’s organizations to be pro-life, and support contraception only within marriage. She is on the board of Intercessors for Uganda (IFU), so set up a meeting with Pastor Laban Jjumba, the founder of IFU.
Thomas met Pastor Laban Jjumba (this photo of him and his wife was for their 40th anniversary this year). Pastor Jjumba is the founder of Intercessors for Uganda, and on the leadership team of Intercessors for Africa. He initiated and led prayer teams that resulted in the overthrow of Idi Amin, and the more recent end of the war in northern Uganda. He has an extraordinary grasp of the flow of church history, and the spiritual state of the church, Uganda, and its leaders.
Meetings at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat:
Above: Meeting with leaders and staff of Holy Cross Family Ministries, who prepare materials and radio broadcasts, and do on site programs for Catholics in Uganda.
Left: Meeting with Sister Stella, National Secretary for Youth, and Angella, National Secretary for Children at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat.
Meetings with the Catholic Chaplains of Makerere University, which is the largest university in East Africa, with 40,000 students.
While in Gulu at the Archdiocese, we did visit with a few more priests.
Far left: Fr. Matthew (middle in white polo shirt) serves on the Justice & Peace Commission, so I gave him a copy of a Bible study on “Righteousness and Justice.”
Left: As we were about to leave the Gulu Archdiocese to return to Kampala, we had the opportunity to meet with Fr. Santo Ojok (middle in right photo), who oversees the priests in that region. We explained the MoH policy to him so he could alert them.
In Kampala, we met with the Malaria and Childhood Illness NGO Network Secretariat (MACIS) – which fights for the life and welfare of children and their rights. Dr. Patrobas Mufubenga (on right) is the National Coordinator, and Eunice Busisa is a Program and Communications Officer. There are 400 NGOs in the Network. Dr. Mufubenga is a strong Christian. [NGO = non-governmental organization]
Meeting with management team members of the Inter-Religious Council.
Meeting at Uganda Muslim Supreme Council with Secretary for Social Services, and Secretary for Women & Youth. They expressed strong opposition to abortion, and promised to use their positions to inform Muslims.
Left: The HLI Uganda & GLC pro-life campaign team on the last full day I was in Uganda: Brian Tandeka, Joseline, Thomas Jacobson, and Fr. Jonathan Opio.
Right: Each Sunday, Fr. Opio would lead the service and preach in 1 or 2 Catholic churches, and I would speak briefly at the end. I encouraged them and their nation not to make the same tragic mistakes as my country and so many others, and told them that the United States became a great nation by believing in God, cherishing and protecting human life, marriage and family, and working hard; not the opposite which characterizes the U.S. today.
Richard Sempala gave Thomas the privilege of teaching village pastors and their wives, and other church leaders and members, in a Saturday conference near Luwero, Uganda. I taught from “The Sanctity of Human Life” Bible study (available on this website), and had them read passages in their own language.
To learn about or support the ministry of the Africa Life Youth Foundation, please go their website at: africalyf.org. Further information is available through the hosting ministry, Freedom's Hope Ministry, Inc., at: Donations are received through Freedom's Hope by choosing the "Donate" tab, completing the information and then specifying the donation for "ALYF."
While in Johannesburg, South Africa, Brent Myers (on right of left photo, standing) who heads a Bible college, asked me to go with him to teach pastors in one of the poor areas. It was my honor to do so, and I taught them from the Bible study on “The Sanctity of Human Life ….”
Johannesburg, South Africa: I stayed with and enjoyed the exceptional hospitality of friends David & Caroline Webb in Johannesburg, whom I’ve known since 1986. I was a groomsman in their 1989 wedding. The two with them on the left side of the table are adopted. They have a extraordinary God-given capacity to lavish love on and care wisely for children. Their ministry is called Baby Havens, rescuing newborn and young children and keeping them in well-managed foster homes (3 are in the right picture). They trust God to bring adoptive families, including from the United States.
To support the Webb's and their Baby Havens ministry rescuing children, please go to their website: www.babyhaven.org.