Catholics in India will observe a “Day of Mourning” for unborn children who were lost through abortion on August 10.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of India urged dioceses across the country to mark the 50th anniversary of India's “Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act” as a “day of mourning.”
In a letter addressed to the country’s bishops Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the bishops’ conference, noted that “millions of abortions have taken place in the country” after the passage of the law.
“There is no sign of slowing down of this anti-life trend,” said the prelate in his letter.
The Catholic Church’s “Day of Mourning” aims to express its “sorrow at the killing of unwanted babies” and to promote a “pro-life” mentality in Indian society.
A special Mass is to be held in all parishes on that day in memory of the unborn babies and to make reparations for the sin of abortion.
A homily with a “pro-life” theme will be preached in all Catholic churches on a Sunday close to August 10.
A campaign for “prayer and reparation for the decades of innocent bloodshed” includes the ringing of funeral bells in churches; presentation of pro-life programs on Catholic media channels; and the observance of "mercy hour” in parishes, religious houses, seminaries, and Catholic institutions.
A “digital blackout” on social media platforms has also been suggested.
Cardinal Oswald reminded the faithful that the Church is in the forefront of promoting a pro-life culture throughout the world.
A recently published paper in the Lancet noted that the incidence of abortion and unintended pregnancy in India is estimated at 15.6 million in 2015.
Since the passage of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in 1971, abortion has been legally available in India under a broad range of criteria, including to save a woman’s life, to protect her physical and mental health, in cases of economic and social necessity, and if contraception has failed between married couples.
According to the Lancet report, the passage in 2002 of an amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act that permits medication abortion up to seven weeks’ gestation increased the incidence of abortion.
In 2003 by a further amendment, certified abortion providers were allowed to prescribe medication abortion drugs outside of a registered facility as long as emergency facilities were available to them.
In 2021, a clause was added to ensure that the privacy of women who opt for medical termination of pregnancy is respected. - Frank Krishner / RVA news