Both worldwide and in Croatia, abortion is a crisis we are facing like no other in history.
This is a crisis that hurts women and men, mothers and fathers, the crisis that separates families, the crisis that dehumanizes the most innocent among us - conceived and unborn children.
Abortion has become the leading cause of death worldwide: every year 43 million children around the world die from abortion. Not taking into account the illegal, unrecorded abortions, the number of 43 million on an annual level is greater than the total number of people killed in all wars, epidemics, bad weather conditions and natural disasters.
In Croatia, according to official data, the total number of abortions is less than 10,000 per year, and some studies claim that the number is actually higher than 20,000.
Although the right to life of every human being is guaranteed by the Constitution, every year more than 20,000 children in Croatia are killed by abortion. However, the innocent children are not the only victims of abortion. There are thousands of women in Croatia, and millions in the world, who have been wounded by abortion - some physically, and a lot more emotionally and spiritually. Also, fathers who lost their children by abortion experience multiple suffering.
The national media have aligned with the so-called pro-choice movement, proclaiming false freedom without responsibility.
It is more than obvious that our society and culture have turned away from and rebelled against God. This may sound like a reason for despair, but the Bible reminds us:
"If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
40 Days for Life was launched as a response and a solution to the crisis of abortion. It is an ecumenical prayerful pro-life initiative. At the global level, so far, over 700,000 people from all Christian denominations have participated in 636 cities, in 36 countries around the world.
In Croatia, the initiative was launched two years ago, and already 8,000 people in 21 Croatian towns have "officially" participated.
40 Days for Life offers the best solution. It has been designed based on the Scriptures and it brings together Christians of all denominations in joint efforts to protect the lives of unborn children, to bring healing to women who had abortions, to bring conversion to the medical staff who perform abortions as well as the politicians and activists who advocate and promote it, and to give spiritual, moral and material support to every mother and father who are considering or have decided to abort their child.
Here are just a few of the blessings noted through 40 Days for Life in Croatia:
- Croatia has the fastest growing number of participating cities in the world in less than two years: Cakovec, Dubrovnik, Knin, Karlovac, Metkovic, Osijek, Po?ega, Pula, Rijeka, Sisak, Slavonski Brod, Split, ?ibenik, Vara?din, Velika Gorica, Vinkovci, Virovitica, Vukovar, Zadar, Zagreb, Bjelovar - 21 cities.
- With five campaigns completed, a sixth campaign is in preparation
- 8,000 people have officially participated in praying in front of hospitals (individuals, prayer groups, choirs, parishes)
- 36 children (that we known of) have been saved from abortion (the number is certainly much higher)
- A reduced number of abortions in hospitals in Zagreb, Osijek, Vukovar, ?ibenik and Pula during the vigils (15%, 50% and more)
- Moral, spiritual and material assistance for pregnant women and young mothers
- Spreading the initiative to Bucharest (Romania), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Berlin (Germany)
That this initiative is inspired by God is confirmed also by new cities that will take part in the next campaign: Kri?evci (Croatia) and Subotica (Serbia).
Cities that are thinking about starting the initiative: Nova Gradi?ka, Na?ice, Koprivnica, Skopje (Macedonia), Fraknfkurt (Germany).
It is important to emphasize how many participants have been connected, strengthened and enriched through this initiative.
The general atmosphere in the Church has also changed: priests are more openly and courageously testifying for the dignity of every human being, people are more readily confessing the sin of abortion, other pro-life initiatives have been started, bishops are more satisfied, there is a greater trust between the clergy and the laity, ecumenism, there are more possibilities for helping pregnant women in need, additional pro-life activities.
We wish that during the 40-day campaign, and after those 40 days, the message of life reaches every person in a simple, yet powerful and always new and fresh way. We carefully share in the media new stories, testimonies, fruits and attitudes, while fostering dialogue with those who disagree with us by taking part in discussions and debates -- always acting affirmatively and in love.
In order to be as effective as possible, we also work closely with professionals: doctors, psychologists and lawyers whose advice, ideas and well-intentioned criticism we respect and appreciate. Their help is very welcomed and needed, and so far it has been really fruitful. For that we are extremely grateful, as well as to all others who in any way help this initiative. We invoke God?s blessing on all!
By Ante Caljku?ic, 40 Days for Life coordinator in Zagreb, Croatia