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PUNE, India (Pro-Life Global) — On Thursday, August 10, 2023, close to one thousand Indians — mainly in their teens and 20s — gathered for the second nationwide March for Life India.

CHARIS India, the National Governing Body of Catholic Charismatic Renewal services in India, organized the first ever national March for Life on August 10th, 2022, in New Delhi. Both the 2022 and 2023 marches were supported by His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias. This year evangelical pro-life leaders also joined along with a diverse gathering of people from across the country.

The day began with an Exhibition for Life hosted by the Catholic Diocese of Poona, setting the stage for the subsequent public gathering commencing in the afternoon with eminent leaders of the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations and organizations. These included Johanna Durairag, who through her organization Life for All has saved about 3,000 children from abortion, and Dr. Finto Francis, a renowned Pro-life Gynecologist and obstetrician from Kerala.

While the crowd marched, a delegation headed to the Pune Collectorate, the local government office, presenting a memorandum calling for the repeal of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, in order to protect the rights of unborn Indians. The event witnessed the spirited participation of pro-life organizations such as Jesus Youth Prolife and Eva Prolife with their members enthusiastically chanting slogans and holding placards that called for the repeal of the Act.

A study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute found that more than 15.6 million abortions happen in India on a yearly basis. Still, the country is uneducated on the brutality and inhumanity of abortion and its procedures. The topic of abortion is not debated regularly by the media or local political intellectuals, due to the cultural silence surrounding the issue.

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“By the grace of God, our country is slowly opening its eyes towards the cruelty of abortion,” shared Sebastian, a YU4C member and a pro-life activist from Chennai. “There have been many initiatives and steps taken by our local pro-life leaders, who travel around the country to various churches, parishes, schools, and seminaries, creating awareness and dedicatedly spreading the gospel of life.”

“We decided to take a bold step, last year, to create a greater impact in our country by introducing the first March for Life India, in the 51st year of the legalization of abortion in our country,” he continued. “Two hundred people gathered to fight for the common cause of protecting life after conception until natural death. We were very excited to see nearly five times as many people turn out for the second march for life this year.”

The march was led by Rev. Francis Kalist, Archbishop of Pondicherry-Cuddalore, along with the Episcopal Advisor to the CCR in India, Chevalier Cyril John. Other organizers included a member of CHARIS International, Mr. Silven Miranda, Coordinator for Catholic National Service Community (CNSC), and Mr. Ajin Joseph, National Coordinator of Youth United 4 Christ (YU4C).

Pro-life musicians also performed during the rally, bringing energy to the crowd. One was Joyful 6, a family of six children, who beautifully embodied the joy of embracing a larger family. Personifying the spirit and determination of this noble cause, Mr. Ajin Joseph debued his new anthem “March for Life.”

CHARIS India plans to hold India’s March for Life 2024 on the same day in Kerala, which is in the south of India, in co-organization with the Charismatic Commission of Kerala Catholic Bishop Conference (KCBC) and hosted by the Archdiocese of Trichur.

The goal of the March for Life in India is to hold the event every year until abortion is made unthinkable. The march aims to create a greater awareness and, in the coming years to include more participation from different religions, faiths, and cultures to unite as one voice and speak out loudly for the voiceless and innocent unborn children.

“The March for Life in India is one light — growing brighter each year,” stated Pro-Life Global Co-Founder and President Bethany Janzen. “One light of the many hundreds of lights that March for Life gatherings bring as they rapidly spread across the globe — from Romania to Vietnam. It is a light that brings hope to moms in pregnancy crisis and love to every person — born and preborn.”

RELATED: India holds first March for Life as Day of Mourning for nearly 800 million aborted children