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CNA Staff, Nov 14, 2023 / 16:10 pm (CNA).
Human Life International, a U.S.-based pro-life Catholic group, has trained more than 10,000 African seminarians in its anti-abortion programs over the last few decades, the group said in a press release this week.
The organization describes itself as a “Catholic, pro-life nonprofit” that sponsors “life-saving missions in over 100 countries.” The group was founded in 1981 in Maryland and is presently based in Front Royal, Virginia.
Human Life International (HLI) said in a release on Monday that as it “continues its counteroffensive against the abortion promotion campaigns of the West,” it is having success in Africa with its training programs there, which “have reached more than 10,000 African seminarians in the last 20 years.”
The press release noted that the abortion rate in Sub-Saharan Africa has been increasing “even in countries where, by law, abortion is only allowed to save the life of the mother.” From 1995 to 2020, the group said, the number of abortions in that region nearly doubled.
“Of the almost 1 million surprise pregnancies reported in Benin, Burkina Faso, and the Côte d’Ivoire, alone, close to 40% have ended in abortion,” the group said.
The group is working to reduce the rates in those countries “and 12 other Sub-Saharan nations, through education programs, pregnancy support, and advocacy.”
George Wirnkar, the regional director for French-speaking Africa at HLI, “has trained thousands of young men to the priesthood in the 25 years he has been with the global Catholic pro-life organization,” the release said.
Annually, “Human Life International trains 4,500 priests and seminarians around the world.”
The group says on its website that its missionaries “help seminarians understand the fullness of Church teaching on life and family. We give them practical pastoral guidance tailored to the needs of their area. And we help them get started defending life through clubs like Seminarians for Life.”
Some abortion advocates have lately focused efforts on increasing abortion services in Africa. The group MSI Reproductive Choices targets multiple African countries as part of its mission to facilitate abortion around the world.
In July at the Women Deliver 2023 Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, multiple groups including MSI Reproductive Choices participated in a panel exploring how to “strengthen increasing access to self-managed medical abortion in sub-Saharan Africa.”
A Reuters report from last year, meanwhile, revealed that the Nigerian military has carried out at least 10,000 brutal, secret abortions throughout the conflict against Boko Haram.
Father Innocent Ahidje, a priest based in Benin, “taught his congregation the tenets of the Catholic teaching on life issues” based on Human Life International’s teachings, the group said in the press release.
Ahidje in the release relayed the story of one husband who said the priest’s talks “opened my mind to the grave sins against life that my wife and I committed in abortion.”
“I rejoice because I have learned that abortion is not a method of family planning,” the husband said, calling the experience “a new beginning in the life of our young family.”
Emil Hagamu, Human Life International’s regional director in English-speaking Africa, said in the release that Western countries have “sent millions of dollars to Africa to pay for abortions and contraceptives, something that African women have not asked for.”
“Africa’s population has long been intentionally targeted for decimation,” he argued. “It is essential that the clergy of the Catholic Church be equipped to help their faithful people combat this culture of death.”