Heavy rains did not deter huge crowds from gathering in the streets of Paris for the city’s March for Life on Sunday.
Organizers estimated that about 40,000 people showed up for the march, which had as its theme, “From darkness to light.”
Despite the heavy rain, the marchers completed the entire route. The march lasted about four hours, starting from Porte Dauphine and ending in the Trocadero esplanade, in downtown Paris.
A minute of silence was held during the march for those who have lost their lives to abortion.
More than 200,000 abortions are performed each year in France, according to government statistics.
March for Life spokesman Emil Dupont told CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency ACI Prensa that “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,” he stressed.
Ana del Pino, the European coordinator of the OneOfUs Federation, agreed, emphasizing the need for unity and cooperation among all the European pro-life groups “to present a common front in defense of motherhood, the family and life.”
In addition to protection for the unborn, this year the March for Life placed special emphasis on end-of-life issues.
Although active assisted suicide is illegal in France, a bill passed in January 2016 allows for “terminal sedation.” For those who are determined to be near death, the law permits “heavy and continuous sedation,” administered until the patient dies either from the illness or starvation.
In addition to the tens of thousands of French who took to the streets to demonstrate for life, several pro-life groups from Holland, Spain, Germany, Italy and Portugal also joined in the march.
Pablo Siegrist from the Jerome Lejeune Foundation in Spain told ACI Prensa that his group participated in this demonstration 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, one of the numerous groups of young people attending the March for Life, said the reason they came was because “we believe it is absolutely necessary to defend the most innocent and defenseless which is the child who has been conceived but not yet born.”
Ortega also stressed 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.”