50,000 Rally in Bratislava Demanding Total Abortion Ban in Slovakia
The “National March for Life” in the Slovak capital was organized by the Catholic Church, and also backed by a major far-right party.
About 50,000 people marched in Bratislava on Sunday demanding a total ban on abortion in Slovakia in a rally organized by Roman Catholic Church, and also supported by a far-right political party.
Sunday’s was the third national pro-life march in Slovakia in the past six years, all of them organized by the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia and the Kanet NGO, The Slovak Spectator reports.
The first two anti-abortion marches were – in 2013 in Kosice and in 2015 in Bratislava – were attended by about 80,000 each, according to the their organizers’ estimates. The third one attracted somewhat fewer protesters but was still massive by Slovakia’s standards.
In 2018, Slovakia, with a population of 5.4 million people, had 6,000 abortions, down from 11,000 in 2018.
A Focus agency opinion poll this month found 55.5% of the Slovaks disagreed with restricting abortions while 34.6% supported it, Reuters reports.
Presently, in Slovakia it is legal to have an abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy.
“Man has not given life to himself; it was given to him,” said Bratislava Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, speaking to the crowd before Sunday’s march in Bratislava.
The pro-life march participants came out to protest the abortion laws currently valid in Slovakia.
“We want freedom for unborn children to be able to be born and live free human lives,” said Marek Michalčík, one of the organisers, as quoted by the Sme daily and The Slovak Spectator.
The organizers demanded “societal and legislative protection of the life of every human from conception until natural death”.
In addition to an abortion ban, they also urged Slovakia’s government to protect the “unique status of the marriage of man and woman as an irreplaceable bond”, and to boost state demographic policy.
“[Slovakia’s government should] express disagreement with such documents of international organizations that in Slovakia interfere with the constitutional values of marriage, family, equality between men and women, and the right of parents to raise their children,” the organizers demanded.
A far-right political formation, the “People’s Party – Our Slovakia” (ĽSNS) also took part in the abortion ban march in Bratislava on Sunday.
The L’SNS is presently sponsoring one of several proposed amendments to Slovakia’s abortion legislation that would reduce the deadline for legal abortion from 12 to 8 weeks.
The organizers of the anti-abortion march did not turn down explicitly the support of the far-right party, whose members joined the rally displaying party symbols.
The march organisers also unveiled a memorial plaque to commemorate the 1.4 million people “who were not allowed to be born” in the 60 years of the existence of the law that legalized abortions in the state (then still the former Czechoslovakia), which they intend to place at the SNP Square in Bratislava.
(Banner image: Official Facebook page of “National March for Life” rally)