Christians in South Korea will join a 40-day global campaign to end abortion in the country.
The 40-Day Prayer for Life is an initiative of pro-life Christian groups to encourage fellow believers to gather at Gyeongui Line Forest Road (also known as Yeontral Park) and spend their time in prayer, fasting, community outreach and vigils in front of abortion clinics. The event will start from September 22 and end on October 31, 2021, reports Uganda Christian News.
Although we cannot legally prevent abortion, we believe that we can bring about change in the present situation by praying with sincerity and trust in the Lord. —Father Park Jung-woo, secretary of the Committee for Life of Seoul Archdiocese,
A special prayer against abortion was penned and distributed to Christian groups to be recited during the campaign period and beyond. While Coronavirus still remains fatal around the world, participants are encouraged to join the event in small groups and follow health protocols.
The 40-Day Prayer for Life saved 19,198 lives from abortion, stopped 221 people from running abortion-related businesses, and closed down 112 abortion facilities.
Father Park Jung-woo, secretary of the Committee for Life of Seoul Archdiocese, admitted that the church alone cannot stop abortion legally, but he trusts that prayer is a powerful tool to make changes to the moral dilemma the Asian country is facing.
“Although we cannot legally prevent abortion, we believe that we can bring about change in the present situation by praying with sincerity and trust in the Lord. It is also important to pray and fast with the same intention,” Father Park said.
An article in Human Rights Pulse revealed that between 50,000 to 500,000 illegal abortions are carried out in South Korea every year. Since these abortions are secret, many of the operations are dangerous, unhygienic, and life-threatening.
Christians value the sacredness of life and believe that human life begins at conception and must therefore be protected. When the South Korea’s Mother and Child Health Act 1953 criminalized abortion, conservatives and religious groups clashed against women’s groups and human rights campaigners. Under the law, a woman who had an abortion could be punished by up to one year in prison or a fine of $1,740, while the medical practitioner who performed the procedure could be locked in prison for two years.
However, on January 1, 2021, South Korea decriminalized abortion and repealed previous laws pertaining to termination of pregnancy. Now, the government permits abortion before the 14th week of a pregnancy, reports German news broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.
Bishop Linus Seong-hyo Lee, chairman of the Committee for Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, lamented the legalization of abortion. He maintained that the church will continue to fight for the right of the unborn child as he reminded the public that, “the life of the fetus should be respected and protected according to human dignity” and “the legalization of abortion is the public recognition of murder.”