"Day of the Unborn" Taking on a Life of Its Own

Coincides with Feast of the Annunciation

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BUENOS AIRES, MARCH 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The unborn are getting a day of recognition all their own -- and the trend is growing.



In many countries the Day of the Unborn is being observed today, feast of the Annunciation, in favor of life and human dignity.

El Salvador was the first country to decree such a celebration in 1993, naming it the Day of the Right to Be Born. The Legislative Assembly so proclaimed it, thanks to the efforts of the pro-life movement, especially the Say Yes to Life Foundation, which is affiliated with Human Life International.

In December 1998, then Argentine President Carlos Menem declared March 25 the Day of the Unborn.

The date was chosen as it is the day that Catholics, who constitute more than 90% of the Argentine population, celebrate the Annunciation, when Jesus was conceived in the Blessed Virgin's womb.

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.

At the time, John Paul II wrote a letter to the Argentine leader expressing his desire that "the celebration of the 'Day of the Unborn' foster a positive choice in favor of life and the development of a culture oriented in this direction, which will ensure the promotion of human dignity in all situations."

In Chile, as a result of a campaign supported by thousands of signatures and several mayors, the Senate in May 1999 unanimously approved a draft requesting the president to declare March 25 the Day of the Conceived and Unborn Child.

That same month, the Guatemalan Congress declared March 25 a National Day of the Unborn -- to "promote a culture of life and defense of life from the moment of conception."

In August 1999, in the framework of the 3rd Meeting of Politicians and Lawmakers of America, held in Buenos Aires, the first lady of Costa Rica, Lorena Clara de Rodríguez, announced the celebration of a day of the unborn in Costa Rica. The then president, Miguel Angel Rodríguez, proclaimed July 27 a National Day of Life Before Birth.

In Nicaragua, in January 2000, President Arnoldo Alemán promulgated a decree declaring March 25 the Day of the Unborn.

In the Dominican Republic, the law establishing the celebration was approved in early 2001, stating that it considered it "appropriate and necessary to assign a day to the unborn child, for the purpose of encouraging reflection on the important role of a pregnant woman in the destiny of humanity, and the value of the human life she carries in her womb."

Peru was the latest country to legislate on the celebration of life. In January 2002, its Congress declared March 25 the Day of the Unborn.

In Brazil, Deputy Severino Cavalcanti proposed a draft law to observe a Day of the Unborn or Day of the Child Who Will Be Born, as a means to heighten awareness of the defense of the right to life from the moment of conception. The draft is yet to be approved.

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

In Slovakia, for the third consecutive year, 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.

Pro-life groups in El Salvador, Uruguay and Spain are now promoting campaigns to collect signatures to have the celebration officially recognized.