, 07 January, 2020 / 1:13 AM
This is part two of a four-part news report, detailing what ACI Africa has gathered regarding activities by a U.S.-based research company testing drug-induced, second-trimester abortion, something that women in the U.S. do not want. The first part reported a testimony of a health professional privy to the clinical procedures undertaken by the U.S.-based research company, Gynuity Health Projects who spoke to ACI Africa on condition of anonymity. The current report details the take of Church leaders in Africa. The condemnation of these African leaders and the way forward will be reported in the third and fourth parts respectively.
Background: After research initiatives on the effectiveness of abortion-inducing tablets for women who are at least 12 weeks pregnant failed to take off in the U.S., a research organization based in the same country decided, a couple of years ago, to cross several borders to the West African country of Burkina Faso to conduct the study, testing chemical abortion on women with limited resources, ACI Africa has established.
The President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo described the abortion tests as part of “the culture of death” that seems to characterize the present world.
“Our world is currently being shaken by the culture of death, with ideologies advocating abortion, euthanasia, homicide and even attacks of all kinds,” Cardinal Ouedraogo told ACI Africa in an exclusive interview and added, “Women and men give in to voluntary abortion, women throw their babies in gutters, in septic tanks. The Church is aware of the lax and permissive tendencies of the present world in this regard.”
The Burkinabe Cardinal views the abortion tests on African women, which target “the lives of the most vulnerable” as part of an ongoing “ideological governance (that) tends to impose a dictatorship of single thought on all countries, that is, to promote the principle of abortion for all, without any restriction.”
“In Burkina Faso, the increasingly commonplace nature of abortion and an abortion mentality is a cause for concern,” 74-year-old Cardinal Ouedraogo who Shepherds Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou Archdiocese disclosed and recalled the continual appeal by Bishops “on leaders to take appropriate and discerning action to preserve our nation from this specter of the culture of death.”
He added, “Nowadays, those who are single as well as couples are often confronted with distress and dramas of conscience. Young people, pupils and students, in this century of libertine and sexual liberalization, are not immune to this phenomenon.”
For 60-year-old Bishop Euzébius Chinekezy Ogbonna Managwu of Gabon’s Port-Gentil diocese, the abortion tests on African women are part of an uninformed “need to limit the population of Africans” and a manifestation of “a desire to hurt Africa,” sentiments echoed by Bishop Dèr Raphaël Kusiélé Dabiré of Diébougou in Burkina Faso.
Bishop Kusiélé described the abortion tests as attempts “to eliminate or diminish Africa, to deprive Africa of its future or at least to undermine Africa's moral and spiritual values.”
The Burkinabe Prelate viewed the abortion tests as taking advantage of the ignorance of African women since “the girls or women who take part in such acts are sometimes very ignorant of what they are getting into.”
“In the context of Burkina Faso, it is because the law is not applied to them that NGOs today take the advantage to bring in abortion ideologies into our country,” Bishop Kusiélé, 71, lamented in an interview with ACI Africa.
The Episcopal Chair for Health under the conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, Bishop Justin Kientega confirmed Bishop Kusiélé’s claim that women involved in the abortion tests are ignorant of the clinical procedures.
“It is underhanded that many women are led into practices whose consequences they are completely unaware of. Even contraceptives, the pills and everything else in there,” Bishop Kientega who heads Burkina Faso’s Ouahigouya diocese said.
In the face of this reality of ignorance on the part of the women recruited for the abortion tests, the Burnabe Prelate who also heads Caritas Burkina Faso said, “We are thinking about what we can do to tell people the truth, to women and girls, so that they are not led into practices that are harmful to their health and the health of the child.”
“We hope to be able to enlighten people so that we can have the clarity of all the facts that are there,” 60-year-old Bishop Kientega said and expressed the hope that with time, “consciences will become clearer. We hope that everyone will therefore take common sense and adopt a good attitude.”
Contributing to the narrative of foreign entities taking advantage of the limitations of a section of Africans, Bishop Prosper Kontiebo of Burkina Faso’s Tenkodogo diocese considers the abortion tests as part of the economic influences of wealthy organizations on Africans.
“It is a world that operates on the grip of love for money and so we often do not have the courage to say no and keep our dignity in poverty,” Bishop Kontiebo told ACI Africa and lamented, “We will prefer to follow wealth by living a culture that is not quite our own.”
“All these ideologies that are detrimental to our country thrive because men have refused to impose a minimum of discipline on their lives that we have all the drifts today around sexuality,” the 59-year-old Burkinabe Prelate said referencing abortion tests undertaken in his country by the U.S.-based research company, Gynuity Health Projects.
“Everyone knows that this Study by this NGO and other related campaigns in Burkina Faso are an incentive for children and young people in particular to depravity,” Bishop Kontiebo disclosed and decried, “Unfortunately, in the name of money, our governments sometimes prefer to sacrifice the people for aid even if they destroy society.”
For the Archbishop of Togo’s Lome Archdiocese, Nicodeme Barrigah, the language employed by entities advocating for abortion including the U.S.-based Gynuity Health Projects is strategized to convince.
“What I would say is that the language used by institutions is a seductive language. It is a beautiful language that finally succeeds in convincing even people who have a very good intention,” the Togolese Prelate told ACI Africa and added, “We use this language without realizing that behind it there may be a whole ideology being conveyed.”
In part three of this four-part report, Church leaders in Africa go beyond the just described contexts on the continent within which foreign entities seem to promote a culture of death and express their condemnation of the abortion tests.
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