A Date with Life
Sunday morning, a routine get-together with my friends. What more could we wish for than a bright sunny day ahead of us? “Hey guys, any plans for this evening? There's this March for Life. Heard of it, didn't you? We should definitely go.” A wake up call from my friend Luke drew our attention. “Well, why not? It's no doubt a good thing to do. Does 5 pm at the bridge work for you all? Well, see ya then.”
Life for life's sake
Maybe you knew, maybe you didn't. On Sunday, 25th March, Slovakia commemorated the 12th Human Life Day. Non-governmental organisations involved in the Life Forum united their efforts to organize an annual campaign aimed at promoting an increased respect for human life, mainly by protecting the innocent unborn children. The focus of the campaign is to raise the public’s awareness of the need to safeguard and value human life from the very beginning, that is, from conception rather than birth.
You can voice your opinion in a variety of ways. Probably the best known one is expressing your belief directly and visibly by wearing a white ribbon on your coat or bag. This symbol in fact stands for the right to life, which is a fundamental human right according to our constitution. However, that is not the only thing that you can do. What we were planning on was taking part in the quiet march that symbolically started at half past six in the heart of our capital, in Hviezdoslavovo Square.
The More Peaceful and Non-violent, The Less Anti-Gorilla-like
To be honest, we were a bit late. There’s always this problem with buses… When we finally got to the meeting point, all the volunteers had already been gathered. The march had started, so we quickly joined the crowd, took some papers and stopped talking. Yes, I am not kidding. It was nothing like the well-known Anti-Gorilla protests that we witnessed in the previous months.
And that was probably the most surprising thing. Well, at least for me. The fact that the march was supposed to be completely quiet did not affect the power of the whole idea though. You do not need to throw paving stones at the people around you in order to be heard. We did not shout, did not run around the place or did not try to persuade anybody else to change their mind. And yet we achieved the goal.
We simply walked. The streets of the Old Town were crowded with people of all ages. You could see small children, young teenagers, parents and grandparents. Politicians and priests, nuns and organisers. They all came to support the idea of protecting the life of unborn children.
From Hviezdoslavovo Square, we went on to Hlavné Square, where there was a symbolical heart on the ground, made of 13,000 children’s shoes. They symbolized the number of children who could have been born in 2011 but were not due to abortion.
The Final Countdown
It is scientifically proven that life begins at the time of conception. However, when a woman does not want to have a baby, she can have an abortion. According to Act No. 73/1986 on abortions in Slovakia, the woman does not need to give a reason for her decision up to the 12th week of her pregnancy. The abortion costs 230 euros.
Let’s look at some figures now. In our country, abortions were legalized in 1958. In 1988, the number of abortions in Slovakia reached a peak of 51,000. Fortunately, in 2005 there were “only” 14,427 abortions. Statistically, there are about 35 abortions in Slovakia every day, which means that every fifth child dies in abortion now. Since the legalization of abortion until now, there have been approximately 1,360,000 abortions performed in Slovakia.
More than one million lives ended before they even began.
Yet now there is a possibility for women to carry their babies to term. Thanks to donors, there is a system called “Save Lives”. The main aim of the project is to help pregnant women in need who found themselves in a problematic situation. Volunteers can “adopt” pregnant women and provide them with monthly financial aid. This way, abortions can be prevented and the women can be spared the consequences of their decisions, such as the post-abortion syndrome.
Who Will Live Happily Ever After?
The walk did not take long. Approximately 500 people who took part finally reached the destination of their march – the Memorial of the Unborn Children at the Blue Church, where short speeches were made by Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, Anna Záborská, a member of the EU Parliament, Anna Kováčová, a psychiatrist and mother to eight children, and Michal Makovník, a father of a young family.
Afterwards, a moment of silence followed.
The main aim of the march was to remind the public that we are humans from the time of conception. Every person has the right to live. Therefore, we should help mothers and families in need so that every child can be born.
Will you help them?
Photos: Martina Bednáriková and Karolína Bacigálová
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