unborn child

This Sunday, Commemorate the Day of the Unborn Child

12 April 2024

6 MINS

The International Day of the Unborn Child is commemorated annually on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March (from whence the early Christians derived the date of the Nativity of Our Lord or Christmas, nine months later). Established worldwide by Pope John Paul II, it started in 1993 when El Salvador became the first nation to officially celebrate the “Day of the Right to Be Born”.

As the Life and Family Institute explains:

“It marks the day Our Lord Jesus Christ became a tiny unborn child in His mother’s womb. It is a day of celebration and remembrance of the dignity of the unborn. It is also a day to remember the millions of unborn children whose lives have been ended by the violence of abortion.”

The site dedicated to this day adds:

“Regardless of whether one emphasizes the secular or religious aspects of the March 25th memorial, the symbolic interval of a full-term pregnancy reminds us of the reality, importance, and dignity of human life from day one at the moment of conception.”

This year, as 25 March fell within Holy Week, the celebration of the Annunciation was postponed to the Monday after the first week of Easter, this past Monday — and the Day of the Unborn Child will be marked this Sunday, 14 April.

Solemn Procession

The Life and Family Institute of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has organised the event, beginning with 10.30 a.m. Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, followed by the Angelus at midday and a street procession at 12.30 p.m. to the New South Wales Parliament House with prayers, the singing of the national anthem, and an address by guest speaker Archbishop Julian Porteous from Hobart.

Then attendees will process back to the Cathedral for Benediction (a Eucharistic blessing) at 1.30 p.m. to finish. The procession will be led by Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Archbishop Julian Porteous, Bishop Richard Umbers and possibly others.

Andrew Murphy of Family Life International Australia writes:

With the opportunities to offer a public pro-life witness being greatly diminished, events like the annual Day of the Unborn Child procession are more important than ever…

The Day of the Unborn Child is an important public witness to the humanity of the unborn at a time when the mainstream media, sex education programs and many others are trying to dehumanise them. It is a reminder that the baby in the womb is in fact a child, and not just a clump of cells which can be thrown away.

Last year, at the prayerful march attended by 3,500-4,000 people, Population Research Institute President Steve Mosher delivered a powerful address outside the New South Wales Parliament House in which he reminded attendees:

“One soul… one baby is worth the entire material universe, because the material universe will one day pass away, but that baby, that soul will be with us forever.”

In 2022, University of Notre Dame law lecturer Anna Walsh said:

“We might think of today as a big display of the prolife movement, but the reality is that we are a very tiny minority, and we must be prepared to be ridiculed and to suffer. We must be ‘battle ready’. So, I’ll give you two weapons you need to go into battle successfully, but which you can’t hold in your hands because these weapons are two beliefs.

The first belief is in your own power which, when you exercise it according to the Divine Will, you can do all things because God will strengthen you. The second belief is in your own weakness because without Him you can do nothing.

I cannot overstate how these weapons have personally helped me in doing prolife work.”

International Initiative

Zenit reports:

In December 1998, then-Argentine President Carlos Menem declared March 25 the Day of the Unborn… Shortly before the celebration, Menem wrote a letter to all the presidents of Latin America, and to those of Spain, Portugal and the Philippines, inviting them to join the initiative and declare a Day of the Unborn.


Pro-Life groups in Austria have designated March 25 the Day of the Unborn.

In Slovakia, pro-life groups have sent a letter to the republic’s National Council requesting that March 25 be declared Day of the Conceived Child. March 25, the date chosen, was particularly known in Slovakia as the “day of the struggle for human rights” during the Communist era.

Wikipedia notes:

Subsequently other countries have initiated official celebrations for the unborn, such as… Chile with the Day of the Conceived and Unborn, Guatemala with the National Day of the Unborn, and Costa Rica with the National Day of Life Before Birth, all in 1999.

Nicaragua began observing the Day of the Unborn Child in 2000, the Dominican Republic in 2001, Peru in 2002, Paraguay in 2003, the Philippines in 2004, Honduras in 2005, Ecuador in 2006, and Puerto Rico in 2018. Chile began observing the Day of the Unborn Child and Adoption in 2013.

Australian Context

On 12 November 2018, National Party Senator for Queensland Barry O’Sullivan stood up in Parliament and announced:

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) acknowledges that:

(i) the internationally-recognised Day of the Unborn Child is observed on 25 March as ‘a positive option in favour of life and the spread of a culture for life to guarantee respect for human dignity in every situation’,

(ii) religious observers attending Day of the Unborn Child services are continuously disrupted and harassed at annual protest rallies organised by pro-abortion groups, such as the University of Sydney Women’s Collective, the University of New South Wales Women’s Collective and Labour for Choice,

(iii) these protest rallies feature speakers who insult church-goers and accuse the church of supporting violence against women, and

(iv) then Bishop of Broken Bay, Peter Comensoli, has advocated for exclusion zones around religious activities, stating “if they’re (activists) determined to have a safety zone, why not a safety zone around any activities that could be personally intimidating for those involved”; and

(b) calls on all senators to:

(i) protect religious freedom in Australia,

(ii) note the hypocrisy of pro-abortion activists complaining about pro-life group activities near abortion clinics, while, at the same time, carrying out their own protest rallies against religious observances, and

(iii) support calls for pro-abortion activists to be banned from disrupting Day of the Unborn Child services across the nation.

Unfortunately, his stand for life was met with hostility, notably by Greens Senator Larissa Waters, who retorted:

“Senator O’Sullivan needs to get his hands and his rosaries off my ovaries and those of the 10,000 Queensland women who have an abortion every year, 10,000 women who have the right to make a decision about their own bodies without the opinion of Senator O’Sullivan getting in their way.”

In contrast, last December, The Age reported this sad story: “Remi had loving parents and a birth certificate. But he was not considered a person.”

Remi Matthew Aldridge had birth and death certificates, two loving parents and a stepbrother eager to take him under his wing. But under Victorian law, he was not considered a person.

Remi died 34 weeks in utero shortly after a four-wheel-drive allegedly ran a stop sign and crashed into the Ford Territory that his pregnant mother, Elodie Aldridge, was driving near Shepparton East on October 20.

… because Remi never took his first breath, he cannot be considered a child under current legislation and Kemp cannot be charged over his death. Instead, the death forms part of the injuries inflicted on his mother.

If the crash had happened less than 60 kilometres away, in NSW, Remi would have been considered a separate person and Kemp may be facing charges over his death.

When authorities told Aldridge and her husband, Andrew, that Remi would not be considered a separate person, they were in disbelief.

“I just broke down. I could not hear that my baby was not considered a human being,” Elodie Aldridge said, fighting back tears.

“He was alive in my belly; he was ready to come. He was moving; we heard his heartbeat. I cannot understand why he’s not considered a baby, a human being. I just can’t hear it.”

Aldridge had just attended a midwife appointment in Wangaratta and was driving to Shepparton to meet her husband – to share the news that Remi was healthy, had fully formed lungs and could be born anytime – when the crash occurred.

“He was pretty big, so they let me know to get ready. That he could come earlier. Well, I guess he did, but not the way we expected it,” she said.

The Age continued:

NSW passed legislation recognising unborn children with a gestational age of at least 20 weeks as victims of crime in 2021 after a protracted battle led by Brodie Donegan, who lost her unborn daughter Zoe after a crash in 2009.

Donegan was run over by a drug-affected driver on Christmas Day 2009 while she was 32 weeks pregnant with Zoe and – as with Remi’s case – legislation in NSW at the time did not consider a fetus as a human being.

The Aldridges are now pushing the Allan government to introduce similar laws in Victoria so that children like Remi can be recognised as people and anyone who causes their deaths can be held responsible.

“He’s got his birth certificate, he’s got his death certificate, he’s got his own Transport Accident Commission claim, but he is not classed as a baby in the eyes of the law,” Andrew Aldridge said.

A sobering situation. May the peaceful stance of pro-life Australians this Sunday bear witness to the lives of unborn babies like Remi, whether or not they were loved and wanted.

___

Photo by Leah Newhouse.

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4 Comments

  1. Teri Kempe 13 April 2024 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for this Jean. A sobering and great reminder of the wonderful gift of children. How precious they are – each one a gift and miracle from our Creator God.

  2. Jim Twelves 13 April 2024 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Jean, a great piece. Thank you for bringing this story to us. If we believe that we are God’s creation, then the logical conclusion is that the unborn child is also God’s creation. To deny their person-hood and their sovereignty, denies the miracle that of conception.

  3. Warwick Marsh 13 April 2024 at 10:06 am - Reply

    A magificent tribute to the unborn children of Australia and those in particular who do not get a chance to breathe!!!!!! Father have mercy in JESUS NAME!!!!! Please Amen!!!!!

  4. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 13 April 2024 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    How horrible the approx. 10, 000 a year abortions in just Queensland especially as there are many people who would love to adopt. I demand Equal Rights for Pro-Life Marches , safe from the hysterical , radical feminists who hate children .If our new, young priest does not know about this special day, I will remind him tomorrow at church for him to inform the congregation and to offer prayers. Thank you for making me aware.

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