Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk knows the devastation of war.
The United Nations reported in September that almost 8,000 people have been killed in Shevchuk’s country as a result of the on-going conflict between Ukrainians and pro-Russia separatists. The Christian Post reported horror stories of poverty and destitution leading elderly Ukrainians to throw themselves from windows and bridges.
In the past few months, Shevchuk has issued several strong appeals to the Vatican and others to help Ukraine in the conflict; but last week during his Christmas message, the religious leader took time to point out another crisis in Ukraine that has killed 10-times as many people as the war – abortion. While calling for an end to the violent conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Shevchuk also reminded Catholics to recognize the unborn victims of abortion.
“How many new Herods there are today who not only kill children after their birth, but have gone further … there are so many unborn children [killed] today,” Shevchuk said last week during the Eastern celebration of Christmas.
In Ukraine, abortion is legal up through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy for any reason and later in certain circumstances, according to the report. In 2013, the country reported 147,736 abortions. In neighboring Russia, abortion rates hover around 1.2 million per year.
In the U.S., abortions also greatly outnumber the casualties in war. From the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans lost approximately 1.15 million people. As a result of legalized abortion in the past 40 years, Americans have lost more than 55 million unborn babies.
While the loss of innocent lives in war and in abortion are equally tragic, the unborn victims are the ones who too often are forgotten.