Around 5.500 opponents of abortion and active euthanasia rallied Saturday at the 14. Berlin "March for Life" demonstrates. In the run-up to the march, Cardinal Marx thanked the pro-lifers for their commitment.
Among the participants were Berlin's Catholic Archbishop Heiner Koch and Auxiliary Bishop Matthias Heinrich, as well as Regensburg Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer. For the first time in years, a Protestant bishop, Hans-Jurgen Abromeit of Greifswald, took part in the event.
In contrast to previous years, the estimates of the number of participants by the organizers and the police coincided. The march was organized by the Bundesverband Lebensrecht, an association of 14 pro-life organizations. According to its information, the annual march is the largest nationwide demonstration for the protection of life. Once again, it was supported by 1.000 counter-demonstrators disrupted with whistles and chants.
Abromeit: "Still need completely different support systems"
At the closing service, Abromeit called for help for pregnant women in emergency situations. "An unwanted pregnancy is a litmus test on the solidarity of society," says Evangelical Lutheran bishop. The commitment to the right to life of unborn children, however, is not about coercion. German law relies on parents accepting them voluntarily.
"But we still need completely different support systems," Abromeit demanded. Fathers, parents, neighbors and employers must accept their responsibility much more intensively, "so that the women do not stand alone in the end". Auxiliary Bishop Heinrich said the march also stood up for the starving, sick and fleeing people who are denied the right to life.
Demand to maintain the ban on advertising for abortions
At the opening rally, the participants agreed with their applause to a series of demands to politicians. So they called for the legal ban on advertising for abortions to be maintained. With regard to the counseling regulation for a penalty-free abortion, they oppose "bills that legitimize abortions".
They also warned against "health insurance funding for blood tests that select unborn children". Families "who take care of children with special needs" need more help and recognition. They also say that palliative care for the terminally ill must be expanded, instead of "permitting killing agents".
Cardinal Marx: Thanks to pro-life organizations for commitment
The Catholic German Bishops' Conference backed the March for Life. The conference chairman, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, thanked the participants in a greeting for their "unwavering commitment" to the protection of human life. Abortion is "fundamentally incompatible with our system of values and law".
Freiburg Archbishop Stephan Burger called the march a sign for all people "who do not want to expose themselves to economic prere of feasibility and optimization for their lives". Limburg Bishop Georg Batzing called on participants to "continue to bring the ie of the protection of life to the public in a persistent, calm, objective and peaceful manner". Thus they would "find recognition as partners in the social discus". The Bishop of Passau, Stefan Oster, praised their "personal testimony that they are giving".
Volker Kauder: March is "both a reminder and a warning"
In a greeting read out, former Bundestag vice president Johannes Singhammer (CSU) praised the march as a "great citizens' initiative". It is not directed against pregnant women in existential distress, but stands up for life.
The CSU politician also called it a "wrong way" to abolish the ban on advertising abortions, which is enshrined in Section 219a of the penal code. What is needed is "publicity for life".
On behalf of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Volker Kauder (CDU) thanked the participants in a welcoming speech. For politicians, the march was "both a reminder and a warning to constantly question the existing protection of life and to react to new medical developments in a way that protects life and promotes life.". Kauder named blood tests to determine disabilities in embryos, as well as ies of organ donation and euthanasia.
Participants from Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches
According to the organizers, last year's march had around 7.500 participants also from Protestant and Orthodox churches. Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer (Regensburg) and the auxiliary bishops Hubert Berenbrinker (Paderborn), Matthias Heinrich (Berlin) and Florian Worner (Augsburg) took part as representatives of the Catholic Church.
Several counter-meetings taking place at the same time, including those of the SPD, the Left Party and the Greens, accused the march's participants of standing up "with reactionary-conservative and anti-human demands against abortion and sexual diversity". They called for the abolition of paragraph 219a, which regulates the ban on advertising. (CBA)