, 05 November, 2019 / 4:13 AM
At a time when Christian professionals including Catholic leaders in Kenya and beyond have mounted a campaign against the planned November 13-15 United Nations’ 25th International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) that will be advocating for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights” among other pro-choice agenda, a leader of a pro-life movement in Africa has identified abortion as the biggest challenge facing the initiatives of the pro-life movement on the continent.
“Life Runners Africa faces the great challenge of a well-developed abortion industry that has targeted Africa specifically to ensure a reduced growth in its population,” Coordinator of Life Runners Africa, the U.S.-based Lay Dominican Dr. Sebastian Mahfood told ACI Africa in an interview October 31.
Statistics indicate that an estimated 8.2 million induced abortions occurred every year in Africa between 2010-2014, up from 4.6 million abortions between 1990-1994.
Life Runners is the largest Pro-Life Team in the world with 13,508 teammates in 2,507 cities and 39 nations, including eight African countries.
According to Dr. Sebastian, the realization that developed countries were advancing the abortion agenda in Africa inspired the extension of the Life Runners movement to Africa, aimed at marshalling grassroots support that counters the pro-choice agenda.
“The inspiration for the establishment of Life Runners in Africa was the need for a large-scale grass roots effort to take a stand against the population control agenda spearheaded by the developed nations in the West,” he told ACI Africa.
The grassroot efforts of the organization have since spread to eight African countries, which include Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda. There are up to 505 volunteer members of the Life Runners in Africa, Lay Dominican Dr. Sebastian disclosed.
“There is a law that prohibits abortion in Liberia, however, lots of people continue to engage (in) abortion illegally,” Liberia’s Life Runners Country Coordinator, Stephen Karfiah told ACI Africa in an interview Friday, November 1 in reference to his country where poverty rate stands at 92.2%.
However, according to Stephen, the organization is helping save lives by “reaching out to pregnant women who were nearly aborting their pregnancies due to hardship.”
In Tanzania where the organization has received the support of Archbishop Paul Runangaza Ruzoka of Tabora since its establishment in 2018, the movement is providing support to pregnant women in distress.
“A number of young girls and women who were about to do abortion have been given moral support and changed the idea of killing their lovely unborn babies hence we see the love of God in them,” National Coordinator of Life Runners Organization in Tanzania, Kahama Emmanuel Peter testified to ACI Africa Friday, November 1.
Kahama who is also the Associate Coordinator of Life Runners in Africa revealed that in Tanzania, his team has been organizing youth workshops targeting Catholics with a focus on the “Catholic teaching on the concept of life and the challenges the Catholic faith is facing in the modern and contemporary world.”
To create awareness against abortion, the Life Runners in Africa is planning a relay race in Tabora Archdiocese, Tanzania in July 2020 where the organization will take the message of “Remember The Unborn” to the “roof of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, as a public witness to impact hearts and minds for saving lives!”
Speaking about the planned Nairobi ICPD25 Summit that is funded by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Sebastian thinks the convention is likely to succeed in its endeavor “to export in a colonialist manner Western secularism that is to the detriment of the African people.”
He explained in reference to the people and entities behind ICPD25, “They will be successful because they bring large gifts of money to exchange for government insertion of programs contrary to life,” and cautioned, “These "gifts" are poisonous and should be rejected.”
“Africans have it within themselves and within their own natural resources to provide for their needs without Western interference,” the U.S.-based university don added.
Founded by Dr. Pat Castle in 2006 after an encounter with St. Padre Pio, Life Runners movement promotes the rights of the unborn by organizing relays and marathons to create awareness against abortion as well as through members wearing a “Remember The Unborn” jersey “as a public witness to impact hearts and minds for saving lives.”
In his response to an email interview with ACI Africa Friday, November 1, the Founder of Life Runners revealed, in reference to the U.S., that “78% of post-abortion women said if one person had offered support or if they had a supportive sign, they would have chosen life.”
Life Runners is encouraging support toward its campaign against the Nairobi UN Summit and has decried on its webpage, "To be honest, the billion-dollar abortion industry has LIFE Runners Africa outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered and outplanned."
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa