Paris, January 25, 2018
Despite the heavy rain, approximately 40,000 people came out for the March for Life through the streets of Paris on Sunday. The pro-lifers completed the entire 4-hour march in downtown Paris. This year’s theme was “From Darkness to Light,” reports the Catholic News Agency.
In addition to the tens of thousands of Frenchmen, several pro-life groups from Holland, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Portugal also joined the pro-life march.
Predictably, media outlets seriously underreported the number of marchers, as LifeSiteNews reports. “Over a thousand demonstrators took part in an anti-abortion March in Paris …” one headline reads.
According to government statistics, more than 200,000 abortions are performed in France every year. A minute of silence was held during the march to commemorate all of these many innocent victims.
“It is important to break the silence and speak about the consequences of abortion, which no one want to say anything about. So we've got to do it… It is very important to work together for life,” March for Life spokesman Emil Dupont stated.
The situation is rather serious in France right now, as the day after the march, the government launched a public consultation for the revision of France’s bioethics laws, including legalizing assisted procreation for gay couples, and artificial fertilization for lesbians. Also to be discussed is the extended use of embryos for research.
In addition to pro-life issues, this year’s march also focused on end-of-life issues. While active assisted suicide is illegal in France, the law allows for a loophole that leads to the same result. A bill passed in January 2016 allows for “heavy and continuous sedation” to be administered until the patient dies from illness or starvation.
Pablo Siegrist from the Jerome Lejeune Foundation in Spain said that his group participated in the march in France because the laws on surrogate motherhood, abortion and euthanasia have “a clear crisscross effect between countries, and that's why we believe we have a much more encompassing goal to offer, which is to defend everyone's life.”
“We believe that life is a treasure regardless of the physical or mental abilities a person may have and that everyone has a lot of contribute. We stand up for everyone, no matter what their situation is,” Siegrist stressed.
Alvaro Ortega, president of the Spanish +Life Foundation, also highlighted the importance of an international presence in demonstrations such as this one because issues like abortion and euthanasia “come from an agenda organized on the international level, and so the response has to also be international.”
In February of last year, the French National Assembly voted on Thursday to target websites “spreading misleading information” on abortion, punishing those operating them by up to two years in jail and a $30,000 fine. The wording of the legislation is loose enough that any electronic or online means of calling attention to the dangers of abortion and trying to dissuade parents from killing their children could become a target.
All left-wing representatives present and a number of centrists voted for the legislation in a show of hands, putting an end to the failed negotiations between the Assembly and the Senate which sought for less severe wording. With the passing of the legislation, pro-life speech is effectively outlawed, following on a series of infanticide laws that have made it a purely elective and fully publicly-funded “fundamental right” in France over the past five years.