About 100 people, young and old, from around Cape Town gathered outside National Assembly on Thursday 31 January to protest against the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (Act 92 of 1996).Organised by the Africa Christian Action (ACA), a Claremont-based non profit organisation, the march began at Keizersgracht, with all the participants dressed in black to show solidarity and to mourn all the babies “killed” through abortion.The protest was peaceful and was followed by a funeral-like proceeding involving prayers for the souls of the unborn babies that have been aborted over the years since the legalisation of abortion in South Africa.There was no memorandum – organisers say they have been addressing the matter with government for years and they now carry on with faith that one day, members of parliament will hear their cry and realise the aftermath that comes with abortion.As such, they held an hour-long prayer led by pastors from different local churches.There were also talks by various speakers including other pro-life organisations, member of parliament Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front Plus, and Melissa Hertz who once had an abortion. Hertz shared her testimony and how she founded her organisation Projectlife. All present sang one tune – that abortion is a sin and should be abolished.The protesters said the concern is not just the ending of an “innocent” life, but the consequences of abortion.Taryn Lourens, the coordinator, said: “Abortion does not end with the termination of pregnancy and the physical health issues, as the Bible is clear that if we take a life there will be consequences. Those women that go through abortion struggles immensely with psychologically after-effects, ending up with depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Some of them regret having an abortion but suppress those feelings and end up abusing alcohol.”She said that some of the women do not get to talk about their abortion ever again, except for the few hours of counselling they get at the clinic, will return to society and deal with it silently, “causing so much pain no-one knows about.”Hertz is living testimony to this.She had an abortion at 14 when she and her boyfriend decided they were not ready to be parents.She was afraid, thinking she would not be a good mother. She says that although she went about the abortion the legal way, it tormented her for years until she found consolidation in speaking about it and helping out other women who were through the same pain.“It caused so much grief and heartache for me. It’s for this reason that I am so passionate about the cause of helping women post-pregnancy and who had an abortion, to deal with the emotions because a lot of people experience guilt and suicidal tendencies after abortion because it causes a lot of psychological harm.”Someone who decided to support the initiative due to his experience was Jaco Dippenaar who says he has been against abortion his entire life, but he realised its severe consequences when he and his wife were advised to abort their unborn daughter by a doctor that believed the she would have severe deformities. “We decided against it because she belonged to the Lord and had a right to life. Today she is almost 11 and perfectly fine.”Dippenaar says abortion is just a justification of sin and a way of saying people can just take away the pregnancy, “whereas that is not true”. Pastor Mark Parris of Durbanville Community Church says this was a good opportunity to spread the message and he hopes many people will support such initiatives. He says the more younger people get involved the better, “as it is the young generation that thinks being pregnant is a minor thing that can be easily dealt with”.“That’s why many people today suffer with anxiety and depression because they realise what they have done and that they are guilty of taking a life. We can prevent that by having young women and men aware of the consequences and avoid having to deal with unwanted pregnancy.”Groenewald says his involvement was an attempt to act against hypocrisy by government members who despite legalising abortion still seek the help of God once they are in trouble. He says his party has from the start opposed the legalisation of abortion. He warned young women to be responsible and avoid unwanted pregnancies.However, he says they understand that in some circumstances unwanted pregnancy can happen due to the unfortunate circumstance of rape: “Even in the Bible we see certain justification for an abortion up to a certain stage.”Dr Rebecca Hodes, a medical historian based at the University of Cape Town, says criminalising abortion will not stop abortion – instead it will force women to do it illegally, putting more lives at risk. She says the Department of Health and the police need to actively enforce laws in fighting illegal abortions.“When a woman is desperate nothing can stop her from taking any risk,” she says. To tell us your thoughts on abortion, email Nomzamo.Yuku@peoplespost.co.za.