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Children’s Day and Other Sparks of a Prolife Movement in China

From the series Prolife Ministry in China

In 2013, I first learned of a campaign linking China’s June 1st national holiday— “Children’s Day,” to a call to treasure human life in the womb and to reject abortion. The modest call to conscience was “Don’t abort on Children’s Day.”

I had been working in China since 2011 with a key leader (called an “uncle”) of a large network of churches. The question we were working on was, “In the country suffering the highest numbers of abortion, infanticide, and gendercide (the killing of baby girls based on being limited to one child), what would happen if China’s Christians resolved, from neighborhood to neighborhood, to give life to their babies and help their neighbors do the same?” Pragmatically, the question was “How can we teach biblical bioethics, prolife apologetics, and crisis intervention clearly and simply enough that people can hear God’s word, obey it, and immediately share it with others?”

We settled on “4 questions” designed to answer the crisis of abortion with the gospel of life.

  1. What does God say about human life, including life in the womb?
  2. What does God say about the shedding of innocent blood, including abortion?
  3. How do we bring the grace of the gospel to the guilt of abortion, so that people are forgiven and set free?
  4. What does God call us to do to stop the shedding of innocent blood (and how have God’s people answered this call, from the midwives in Egypt to current models of crisis intervention today)?

In over 40 cities, we worked on rapid reproduction and shareable resources. But it was reading of this modest summons, “Don’t abort on Children’s Day” that proved to be a catalyst. Children’s Day appeared to me and others to be the perfect entry point for leaders to teach the “4 Questions” and to incentivize a mass effort.

In 2014, the uncle we were working with authorized a “Children’s Day Campaign.” They set a goal to teach one million people in one month to:

  • Treasure human life.
  • Reject abortion.
  • Bring the gospel to the guilty and grieving.
  • Rescue women and couples in pregnancy-related crisis.

Their campaign began May 1st with 160 respected pastors, and they created a pathway for re-teaching and sharing which would culminate on June 1st, “Children’s Day.” Their tracking and feedback suggest they reached about 750,000 people.  

Leaders preparing to teach the “4 Questions.”

In 2015, another network joined the effort. To my shock, they set of goal of reaching 8.2 million people. It appears they failed by 75%, reaching “only” two million more people with the call to “rescue those being taken away to death” (Proverbs 24:11).

These campaigns are now much more modest in scope due to new government restrictions, the breakup of large networks into smaller ones, and leadership changes. The last large effort I know of was in 2018 and sought to reach 400,000 people in Harbin and Changchun.

Still, Children’s Day provides leaders with an annual opportunity to proclaim the biblical view of human value in the same way that many churches in the States hold a Sanctity of Human Life Sunday every year around January 20th (the date the US Supreme Court declared abortion a right in 1973).

And there are other encouraging signs. My co-workers in China have collected a mural full of stories and pictures of Christians hearing the “4 Questions” and then rescuing babies by helping one mother at a time find God’s provision. In addition, organized pregnancy help services are emerging. I know of three “safe homes for pregnant mothers” (what we call “maternity homes” in the USA) set up by Chinese believers in the last three years. Most significantly, there is now a government approved NGO in China dedicated to promoting healthy moms with healthy babies. They have now set up four pregnancy counseling offices inside the OB/GYN departments of government-run hospitals. In 2020, in spite of COVID, they tracked 187 mothers who came to the hospital for an abortion but were assisted in finding a life-affirming solution.

Stories spread, especially ones of crisis, intervention, answered prayer, and a precious baby. Sparks and embers? Maybe so. But a little is much when the Lord is in it.

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Images courtesy of the author.
John Ensor

John Ensor

John Ensor is the president of PassionLife, a prolife global missions partner to Christian leaders serving where the plague of abortion, infanticide and gendercide is especially concentrated.    View Full Bio

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