Poland’s March for Life and the Family drew 5,000 people this year, according to the event’s organizers.
The annual march took place in Warsaw on Sunday, Sept. 19. Thousands of participants took to the streets in the Polish capital brandishing the country’s red and white flag and posters with pro-life slogans.
It was Poland’s first March for Life since a landmark decision on abortion by Poland’s constitutional court came into effect earlier this year.
The Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw ruled on Oct. 22, 2020, that abortion for fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional. The ruling, which cannot be appealed, is expected to lead to a significant reduction in the number of abortions in the country.
Abortion remains legal in Poland in cases of rape or incest and in cases of risk to the mother’s life after the ruling.
Polish President Andrzej Duda met with the organizers of the march, who are affiliated with the Center for Life and the Family and the Christian Social Congress, on Sept. 19.
Duda welcomed the constitutional court's ruling last year saying that “abortion for so-called eugenic reasons should not be allowed in Poland.”
The March for Life and the Family, which usually takes place in 140 Polish cities, was limited to Warsaw this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The organizers of this year’s scaled-down march selected “fatherhood” as a key theme of the event.
“We want to send a signal not only to the whole of Poland, but also to the whole world that there are men in Poland who take responsibility, that they do not run away from it,” Pawel Ozdoba, one of the event’s organizers said at the opening of the March for Life and the Family.
Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference, expressed good wishes to the participants of the march in a social media post.
The archbishop invoked two recently beatified Polish Catholic figures as examples of supporting the right to life.
Blessed Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the Primate of Poland who led the Church’s resistance to communism, and Blessed Elżbieta Róża Czacka, a blind nun who revolutionized care for the visually impaired, were beatified the weekend prior in Warsaw.
“May Blessed Cardinal Wyszyński and Blessed Mother Czacka support you in showing that everyone has the right to life, and the family is the most precious good of humanity,” Gądecki wrote on Twitter.
A Mass was offered at the conclusion of the March in Warsaw’s Church of the Holy Cross.
“The Primate of the Millennium was so often called the ‘Father of the Nation,’ hence the connection. We wanted to show that Polish fathers are responsible,” Ozdoba said.
“A responsible and strong father and a strong man are needed not only by the family, but also by the whole society,” he said.