50,000 Pro-Life Citizens March to End Abortion in Slovakia
Slovaks gathered in the European country’s capital of Bratislava in protest
The people of Slovakia took to the streets in the tens of thousands over the weekend, as pro-life citizens are calling for an end to legal abortions in the country.
An estimated 50,000 Slovaks marched in protest in the European country’s capital of Bratislava.
In Slovakia, there were 10,082 reported abortions in 2017, compared with 57,969 births.
Under current laws, the predominantly-Catholic country legally allows abortions, for any reason, up to 12 weeks.
Abortions deemed to be health-related can be carried out up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
Protesters are calling for "legislative protection of the life of every human from conception until natural death."
The National March for Life on Sunday was organized by the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Slovakia to protest the current law, AFP News reported.
The conference put the turnout at 50,000, according to LifeSite News.
"Man did not give himself life; it is a gift given to him," Stanislav Zvolensky, Archbishop of Bratislava, told the pro-lifers gathered in the capital.
March organizer Marek Michalcik declared; "We want freedom for unborn children so that they can live freely their human life.”
The marchers seek the "societal and legislative protection of the life of every human from conception until natural death,” and call on the government to support institutions that help women choose life, as well as protect the "unique status of the marriage of man and woman as an irreplaceable bond,” the Slovak Spectator reported.
They also called on lawmakers to "express disagreement with such documents of international organizations that in Slovakia interfere with the constitutional values of marriage, family, equality between men and women, and the right of parents to raise their children.”
Slovak pro-lifers have an uphill battle to change the status quo.
A poll released earlier this month found that 55 percent oppose a proposal to limit elective abortions to the first eight weeks, which has been abandoned by the governing party Smer Social Democrats and their SNS coalition partners, according to AFP.
Other proposed laws would limit abortions to the first six weeks, forbid any abortions “without serious reason,” and allow sick leave up to 21 weeks to give birth and put a baby up for adoption
Still, the pro-life organizers expressed optimism for the future.
Patrik Daniška told reporters that the turnout signified a mandate to act “because people want change to happen,” pointing to the eight-week limit as well as proposals to limit abortions to the first six weeks, forbid any abortions “without serious reason,” and allow sick leave up to 21 weeks to give birth and put a baby up for adoption.
"They view the issue from different angles, but we support each of them and hereby call on MPs to vote for them," Daniška said.