By Catherine Livingston, Ph.D.
“You can’t be a Catholic and support abortion!” This line is not uncommon among Catholics who stand for life, and it’s no surprise that was one of the chants resounding through the streets of Madrid as a reported 50,000 people participated in the annual “Yes to Life” march.
While normally held on March 25, the International Day for Life, the “Yes to Life” march was held early this year, on March 12. The Catholic News Agency reports that the march was supported by more than 500 organizations which make up the Yes to Life platform.
CNA says that “the sponsoring organizations expressed their opposition to ‘all laws and practices that threaten life and human nature at any moment of its existence, as well as the businesses and ideologies that sustain them.’” The organizations also promised to work so that “no illegitimate and perverse law be in force in our legal system,” advocating “that Spain must be an advanced nation, progressive in terms of true rights and conservative of objective and perennial values.”
The Jérôme Lejeune Spain Foundation posted a clip of the march its Twitter page:
As evidenced from even this short video, the march took a “celebratory” tone. However, as OneofUs.eu reports, it wasn’t all celebrating, as there was a heavy and important message.
As recently as last month, Spain’s parliament expanded abortion access in the nation that decriminalized abortion in 1985, as reported last year by France24.com. The latest legislation, according to PBS, “builds on legislation passed in 2010 that represented a major shift for a traditionally Catholic country, transforming Spain into one of the most progressive countries in Europe on reproductive rights.”
Spain’s recent move now permits 16- and 17-year-olds to have abortions with no parental consent. In addition, PBS adds, the recent changes, “enshrine in law the right to have an abortion in a state hospital. Currently more than 80% of termination procedures in Spain are carried out in private clinics due to a high number of doctors in the public system who refuse to perform them — with many citing religious reasons.”
Pro-life doctors are permitted to opt-out of committing abortions if they have previously registered objections in writing, the story reports; however, the expansion alone makes killing preborn babies even easier than it was a year ago in the heavily Catholic nation.
Thus, the “Yes to Life” rally both celebrated life and raised awareness of the human right to life from fertilization onward.
CNA also reports on powerful testimonies of women who found hope and help from pro-lifers in Spain. This included stories of Marita and Melissa, both of whom were recommended by their social workers for abortions.
Marita, appearing with her son, Santiago, said when she discovered she was pregnant, a social worker suggested abortion, but she encountered 40 Days for Life volunteers and this ultimately saved Santiago’s life. “They helped me make the decision. I went over to them myself and asked them for help…” she said. “I decided not to go [into the abortion clinic]. Today I am here with my son, which is the best thing that could have happened to me.”
Melissa, another participant, took the stage, pregnant with her fourth child. “The social worker [asked] me what am I going to do with so many children, where am I going; that [abortion] is the ideal thing to do,” she said. Instead, she reportedly “talked to the John Paul II Rescuers and More Future Foundation volunteers, who gave her the support she needed to continue with her pregnancy.”
Testimonies like this are why pro-lifers continue to fight. The value of human life is what makes up Yes to Life’s manifesto; the document was read by different representatives of the 500 organizations supporting the event. All declared and agreed that “human beings have the right to life and to be treated as their dignity deserves, from their conception to natural death and at all times and in all circumstances.”
The International Day of Life, as One of Us notes, began in 2003 in Madrid as a result of “a global survey answered by more than 20,000 groups and associations from more than 20 countries in Europe and America, [where] it was agreed to declare March 25 the International Day of Life.” By 2011, the groups and associations “agreed to create a platform with the name and motto Yes to Life, which each year would celebrate a public and unitary act around March 25, International Day of Life, with the color green hope, so that all organizations could see it.”
CNA reports that the march concluded with the participants “releasing balloons into the air following a minute of silence during which only the heartbeat of a baby obtained from a live ultrasound was heard.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.