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50,000 march to end abortion in Slovakia

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, September 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An estimated 50,000 Slovaks gathered in the European country’s capital of Bratislava this weekend to call for an end to legal abortion.

The predominantly-Catholic country currently allows abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks, and abortions deemed to be health-related up to 24 weeks. There were 10,082 abortions reported in 2017, compared with 57,969 births.

The National March for Life on Sunday was organized by the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Slovakia to protest the current law, AFP News reported. The conference put the turnout at 50,000.

"Man did not give himself life; it is a gift given to him," Stanislav Zvolensky, Archbishop of Bratislava, told the pro-lifers gathered in the capital. March organizer Marek Michalcik declared, "We want freedom for unborn children so that they can live freely their human life.”

The marchers seek the "societal and legislative protection of the life of every human from conception until natural death,” and call on the government to support institutions that help women choose life, as well as protect the "unique status of the marriage of man and woman as an irreplaceable bond,” the Slovak Spectator reported

They also called on lawmakers to "express disagreement with such documents of international organisations 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.”

Slovak pro-lifers have an uphill battle to change the status quo. A poll released earlier this month found that 55 percent oppose a proposal to limit elective abortions to the first eight weeks, which has been abandoned by the governing party Smer Social Democrats and their SNS coalition partners, according to AFP.

Other proposed laws would limit abortions to the first six weeks, forbid any abortions “without serious reason,” and allow sick leave up to 21 weeks to give birth and put a baby up for adoption

Still, the pro-life organizers expressed optimism for the future. Patrik Daniška told reporters that the turnout signified a mandate to act “because people want change to happen,” pointing to the eight-week limit as well as proposals to limit abortions to the first six weeks, forbid any abortions “without serious reason,” and allow sick leave up to 21 weeks to give birth and put a baby up for adoption.

"They view the issue from different angles, but we support each of them and hereby call on MPs to vote for them," Daniška said.

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