By Fr. Peter Vecellio, OCD
Jambo! Greetings from Uganda! Thanks to be God, I made it to Uganda safely and have made a fairly smooth transition thus far in my new assignment here. The culture here is very different from the U.S. and, despite not having legalized abortion, it has its own set of problems and dysfunctions. The first thing that struck me was how many children are on the streets. You see them traveling in packs with no sign of an adult chaperone, guardian, or parent. I asked one of our Carmelite Fathers: Where do all these children come from and where are their parents? Many of them are hungry and ask for food whenever your car comes to a stop.
With no legalized abortion in Uganda, one might be tempted to think that the culture is very pro-life when seeing all these children. Yet, many of these children were brought into the world because of a culture of immorality and irresponsibility. Uganda has the highest rate of alcohol consumption in all of Africa, and 45% of Ugandan men have children from multiple partners. This means that many of these children who are hungry and on the streets do not have a father in their lives or have no parent at all. Thus, many of them end up hungry, unhealthy, and abandoned. And many of them die. This seems to be related, among other factors, with this culture of irresponsible drinking and unchecked promiscuity.
And this is exactly the kind of scenario where abortion-minded people would say that we need birth control and abortion. In their logic, birth control and abortion are the answer to starving and suffering children because they would prevent such children from coming into the world. And they falsely believe that pro-lifers want as many children in the world as possible even if those children have to live and die tragically. In this mindset, abortion is seen as a compassionate act of sparing such children a life of suffering. Yet, this is not the pro-life stance. Being pro-life in this setting means being proactive in educating people about chastity, abstinence and, for married couples, Natural Family Planning. Therefore, the pro-life work in this culture, as in every culture, must begin with the promotion of chastity and virtue. Please pray for this to happen in Uganda!