LIMA, Peru, MARCH 17, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Latin American nations are preparing to observe the “Day of the Unborn,” some in the national realm, and others only in the ecclesial.
The initiative is observed on March 25, feast of the Annunciation, when the angel announced Jesus’ conception and birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
El Salvador was the first country to decree this Day in 1993, naming it the “Day of the Right to Be Born.” It was proclaimed by the legislative Assembly, thanks to the efforts of the pro-life movement.
For its part, in December 1998, Argentina declared March 25 the “Day of the Unborn.” The Pope sent a message for that occasion, which was attended by representatives of Orthodox and Christian Churches, as well as Jewish and Muslim leaders. The participants invited Spain, Portugal, the Philippines, and other countries of Latin America to follow this initiative.
A campaign in Chile, backed by thousands of signatures and several mayors, led to the Senate’s approval by unanimity in May 1999 of a project requesting the country’s president to declare March 25 “Day of the Conceived and Unborn Child.”
In May 1999, the Guatemalan Congress declared March 25 “National Day of the Unborn,” endeavoring to “promote a culture of life and defense of life from the moment of conception.”
In 1999, Costa Rican President Miguel Rodríguez proclaimed July 27 as the “National Day of Life before Birth.”
In Nicaragua, President Arnold Alemán promulgated a decree in 2000 declaring March 25 “Day of the Unborn.”
In 2001, the Dominican Republic approved the law that instituted the Day, to foster “reflection on the important role that a pregnant woman represents in humanity’s destiny, and the value of human life that she bears in her womb.”
In 2002, the Peruvian Congress declared March 25 “Day of the Unborn.” The Peruvian Episcopal Conference’s Family Commission has just issued a message calling for more active commitment in defense of life and the dignity of the unborn.
In 2003, Paraguay established March 25 as the official Day of the Unborn, with a decree by President Luis González Macchi.
In other Spanish-speaking countries, the Day of the Unborn does not enjoy national recognition but is promoted by the Catholic Church.
This year, because of the day’s coincidence with Good Friday, the Colombian bishops’ conference will observe the Day of the Unborn on April 4. The theme is “We are Expecting a Child.”