By Dave Andrusko
Gathering in more than 200 locations, a massive crowd estimated at nearly 2 million people rallied on the streets of Argentina Saturday for the annual March for Life.
Argentina is Pope Francis’ native land.
The enormous crowd gathered under the banner “In Defence of the Two Lives,” a reference to protecting the life of both the unborn baby and mother. “Buenos Aires drew the largest crowd, with more than 300,000,” Reuters reported.
The rally was organized by Argentina’s March for Life, a lay-led organization. Although Catholic bishops, evangelical pastors, and Jewish and Islamic leaders participated, they were not involved in the organization of the event, which took place in more than 200 locations across the country.
The movement doesn’t have a political affiliation, either. In fact, the only political message issued from the stage was a warning to Argentine politicians: Abortion will be an issue in the upcoming presidential elections, and those who were out in the streets won’t vote for candidates who support overturning Argentina’s pro-life laws.
Abortion is currently allowed in case of rape or when the life or health of the woman is at risk. Last year a bill to legalize abortion on demand for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy passed the Chamber of Deputies 129-125 . It came very close to passing in the Senate as well.
“In different shapes and forms, the rally has been taking place every year since 1998, when the country declared March 25 to be the Day of the Unborn Child, but the participation and visibility has grown exponentially in the past two years, after the strong effort to legalize abortion,” Crux’s Inés San Martín reported.
Carolina Brown, one of the organizers of Saturday’s rally, told Crux there was a “palpable spirit of celebration, of joy, with families rallying together, as well as an overwhelming presence of young people.”
The latter, she said, wasn’t the case last year, but “seeing that young people are the ones who will have to continue fighting, seeing them come out in numbers, joining friends, is a reason for hope.”
During “march season,” Brown has a key role: Making sure that the people in the street find out about the event, as they have little support from Argentina’s major media outlets, and not everyone has access to social media.
“But Argentina, culturally, is pro-life, so when we’re out in the streets with the light blue handkerchiefs that represent the pro-life movement, many approach us, ask for information, ask for a handkerchief for themselves,” she told Crux on Sunday.
According to Brown, the narrative and attitude of the pro-abortion groups in the country “helps us a lot” because “Argentina is pro-life.”