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Macau bishop calls for 'culture of love' to curb abortion

People should promote a culture of life and love in all stages, from the embryo to natural death, says Bishop Stephen Lee

People watch the premiere of the 2019 pro-life American film 'Unplanned' at the Cineteatro de Macau on May 14. (Photo: Jornal O'Clarim)

People watch the premiere of the 2019 pro-life American film 'Unplanned' at the Cineteatro de Macau on May 14. (Photo: Jornal O'Clarim)

Published: May 25, 2022 04:22 AM GMT

Updated: May 25, 2022 04:33 AM GMT

Bishop Stephen Lee of Macau has called on Catholics and people of other faiths to promote a culture of life and love to tackle abortion in the former Portuguese colony.

The prelate made the appeal as Macau Diocese premiered the 2019 pro-life American drama film Unplanned last week.

Unplanned is based on the 2011 memoir of Abby Johnson, a former clinic director of Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that provides reproductive and abortion-related health services globally. Johnson quit the agency and became a leading anti-abortion activist.

Catholic-run theater Cineteatro de Macau screened the film on May 14 with support from the Macau Diocesan Media Center, Association for Promoting Breastfeeding and Childcare in Macau and the Association for Support of Mentally Handicappped Persons in Macau, Portuguese-language Catholic weekly Jornal O’Clarim reported on May 20.

Bishop Lee said that by premiering the film Macau Diocese didn’t intend to promote or oppose anything but wanted to show “the truth about the clinical procedure of abortion.”

“The aim was not to disclose how the Catholic Church views abortion, but it was all about telling the truth, especially the truth about the [clinical] abortion procedure. I am totally against all form of violence and loss of lives. Life should not be destroyed in any way, no matter what,” Bishop Lee said.

“When there is a question of life, we cannot grapple with the question of right or wrong. We should put life at the foremost”

The prelate lamented that many people agree that life should be protected but don’t think an embryo has a life. “If we say a fetus has no life, then we are denouncing basic anthropology — how a human life begins and develops,” he said.

Bishop Lee said feminism has promoted a misconception of “women's rights” — that a woman can do whatever she wants with her body including the act of abortion.

“When there is a question of life, we cannot grapple with the question of right or wrong. We should put life at the foremost,” he said.

The prelate called on people in Macau, including schools, to reflect and promote a culture of life and love in all stages, from the embryo to natural death, with the message that “life is precious and life is love.”

Macau, a gaming and gambling hub, is a special administration region of China that was under Portuguese rule from 1557 to 1999.

Thanks to its glittering entertainment industry, Macau is a prime destination for the sex trafficking of women and girls and consequent unwanted pregnancies.

In 2012, about 43 out of every 1,000 women in Macau had an abortion, The Lancet medical journal reported.

No official data is available on the current rate of abortion in Macau but media reports say it is still high, as it is in mainland China where abortion has been legal since the 1950s.

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