On the 10th of August, a crowd of nearly 1,000 people marched the streets of Pune, Maharashtra in India to raise awareness 52 years after the abortion legislation through the Medical Termination of Pregnancy act was established in India in 1971.
CHARIS India made history on the 10th of August 2022, organizing India’s very first national March for Life, which took place in New Delhi. Oswald Cardinal Gracias has supported both India's March for Life 2022 and March for Life 2023. This year’s March for Life saw an even greater turnout than last year’s with leaders of pro-life groups and activists gathering from all over the country.
Among the crowd (which comprised primarily of young people in their teens and twenties) was pro-life youth activist Sebastian, who is a member of Youth United for Christ (YU4C) from Chennai. Sebastian said “Our country is slowly opening its eyes towards the cruelty of abortion. There have been many initiatives and steps taken by our local pro-life leaders, who travel around the country … creating awareness”
“We decided to take a bold step last year, to create a greater impact in our country by introducing the first March for Life India, in the 51st year of the legalization of abortion in our country. Two-hundred people gathered to fight for the common cause of protecting life after conception until natural death. We were very excited to see nearly five times as many people turn out for the second march for life this year”.
An Exhibition for Life was held by the Catholic Diocese of Poona before the commencement of the annual march in order to prepare the crowd for the march set to take place in the afternoon. Joining the public for the gathering were notable leaders of the Catholic Church and other prominent Christian denominations and organizations such as Johanna Durairg; a member of Life for All, who has helped to save as many as 3,000 children from abortion, and Dr. Finto Francis, a pro-life gynecologist and obstetrician from Kerala who is eminently distinguished for his work.
The Guttmacher Institute, an pro-abortion organization based in the United States, released a study stating that there were an estimated 15.6 million abortions carried out in India in 2015. Even with this large sum of lives being ended, there is an unjustified cultural silence regarding the issue. Many believe this may be due to sex-selective abortion, a common practice in parts of India.
A statistics report from 2018 shows that there were approximately 63 million women “missing” from India’s total population. Sex-selective abortion, as well as any method of prenatal sex detection was outlawed in India in 1994. This law was introduced due to the country’s imbalanced sex ratio.
A Census taken in 2011 revealed that to every 1,000 boys there were only 914 girls, for children aged 0-6 years. For some areas of northern India, the ratio went as low as 850 girls to every 1,000 boys.
CHARIS India aims to organize another March for Life for the same date in August 2024, this time held in Kerala, South India. The annual march would be hosted by the Archdiocese of Trichur and potentially co-organized by the Charismatic Commission of Kerala Catholic Bishop Conference (KCBC).
The main purpose of the annual March for Life in India is to be an eye opener to those who may not be aware to the full extent of the many years of injustice for the unborn child, and to persist with this goal until abortion is made unthinkable.
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