The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

Mama și Copilul: Iubește-i pe amândoi!

Stimpson family in Bucharest March for Life 2013

A few weeks ago, our family participated in Marșul Pentrul Viață here in Bucharest. It was the third annual march for life in this city, and it was an honor to be a part of it, joining with about 500 others to declare, “România pentru viața!, or “Romania for life!” For a slide show of pictures from the event, go here; you’ll even see some shots of us in the mix! If you’re wondering what some of the signs say, here are a few translations:
–I regret the abortion I had.
–We are the generation for life.
–Real doctors don’t kill babies.
–Adoption, not abortion
–Mother and child: love them both
–50 years = 22 million abortions
–A person is a person no matter how small

There were women carrying baskets filled with replicas of tiny babies that said 500 babies a day are aborted in Romania. Five hundred a day! There are about 22 million people in Romania, so if America, which has a population of about 314 million, had the same abortion rate, that would be 7136 babies a day murdered! The current number of abortions per day in the U.S. is somewhere around 3,200. Romania’s abortion rate is more than twice that of the U.S., and the equivalent of the current population of Romania has been killed off by abortion in just 50 years. Romania is a lovely country with beautiful people, but it is a nation that has killed half it’s people through abortion in 50 years, according to these statistics.

Here are some more statistics about abortion in Romania:
–According to this website, Romania has the highest abortion rate in Europe, more than twice the EU average, with 480 abortion performed for every 1000 live births. That’s almost a third of all pregnancies ending in abortion. However, not all abortion facilities report, so the rate could be even higher.
–According to this site, Romania has the second highest rate of abortion in the world, second only to Vietnam (which, if you do some research on this problem in that nation, it will disturb you and move you to intercession like nobody’s business), with a rate of 78 abortions per 1000 women ages 15-44.

The abortion situation in Romania has changed a lot over the past 60 years in Romania. In 1957, abortion procedures became legal. When that happened, about 80% of pregnancies ended in abortion. Romania was a very poor nation, there was little to no availability of contraceptives, and people thought they couldn’t afford to have children, so they they flocked to abortion centers. Because of this, the birthrate started to fall drastically, which would eventually lead to poor demographic growth.

In reaction to this, in 1966 communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu declared abortion and contraceptives illegal, and practically overnight, everything changed. This law was called Decree 770, and it stated that abortion was illegal for any woman under 45 or who had less than four children to have an abortion. This was and is definitely out of the norm for communist nations. However, Ceaușescu did not make these laws because he regarded human life as sacred and unborn children worthy of life; he simply wanted to make more workers and see his country become more powerful. He promised government childcare centers, adequate medical care, and jobs, but he failed to deliver, and many children were abandoned, left on the streets or in horrendous conditions in state orphanages.

The birthrate shot up quickly for about a year or so, and then started to go back down as many women sought illegal abortions. Some sources say that as many as 9000 women died from complications from illegal abortions. Now, a lot of people use Romania to show what would happen if abortion was outlawed, arguing that abortion should be widely accessible, safe, and legal. It’s a difficult subject to tackle, a very emotional one. But just because women will seek out abortions whether they are legal or not, even at the risk of their own lives and health, does not make it right.

Anyway, after Ceaușescu was violently overthrown and executed at the end of 1989, virtually overnight, abortions again became legal, and, according to this site, the rates shot up and nearly 1 million babies were killed in 1990, compared to only about 315,000 live births. People began the killing without even questioning whether or not it was right. Now, granted, the dictator was harsh and communism destroyed much of the hope and joy of the people. It crushed religion and indoctrinated people with the humanistic atheism that communism is generally notorious for. Without hope of a rescuer and seeing the evil that can come out of people who have no fear of God and having no value for human life other than cogs in an industrial machine, what else could be expected? Who would want to bring children into such a life?

The rate of abortion has been gradually falling in Romania, but it is still very high. There is no easy answer to this, but one thing is for sure: Paul exhorts the church in Philippians 2:14-16 to, “Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], that you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life (AMP).”

The church is to be set apart and separate from the world and the world’s way of doing things. We are to be blameless and uncontaminated from the things of the world, including all of it’s lies and propoganda. The world is crooked, wicked, and perverse, and all of its trappings lead women into thinking that they must abort the babies inside of them. But the church is to hold out the word of hope–real hope is something that the world cannot offer–as it shines like bright stars in this dark, dark world.

Sure, we must speak the truth in love, that abortion is wrong. But we must provide hope! We cannot just point fingers and condemn the women. Are we willing to open our homes to an unmarried, pregnant woman who has no place to go? Are we willing to adopt the children that would otherwise be aborted? Are we willing to sacrifice some of our comfort to give so that other families can eat and feed the children that they do have? Are we willing to provide for their babies’ needs? To befriend those women who have no other hope? Are we willing to demonstrate that children are a blessing, to raise our children to be godly, to show that we really are “pro-life,” pro-children, pro-family? And then those children will grow up to be blessings and change things in our society, to continue to rescue those in the dark by being bright lights who hold out the word of hope themselves. And we must pray, pray, pray. God has put such a strong burden on my heart for this issue, for the women and families who are considering abortion or who have had one (or many), and for the children.

I loved the theme of this year’s Marșul Pentru Viață, Mother and Child: Love Them Both. Assume, Help, Adopt. It implies that we cannot just change the law; we have to see hearts, lives, societies changed. This can only happen through the power and hope of the gospel.

On the cool, hopeful side, check out what these folks are doing here in Romania! We’ve met some of the fruit of their ministry and it’s so great to see what God has been doing through them. They’re even from our neck of the woods in Wisconsin! Here’s a pro-life video from their website.

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