Huge crowds of pro-lifers rallied Sunday in Slovakia to urge their government to protect unborn babies from abortion.
The enthusiasm comes as leaders in the eastern European nation debate whether to limit abortions to about eight weeks, after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, or prohibit them entirely, Reuters reports.
Slovakia, a predominantly Catholic nation, allows abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to 24 weeks when there are health problems. The pro-abortion law was enacted when communists controlled the country.
On Sunday, about 50,000 pro-life Slovaks attended the National March for Life in the capital of Bratislava, organizers estimated, according to AFP. They urged politicians to pass protections for unborn babies and provide more support to pregnant and parenting families.
“We want freedom for unborn children, so that they can live freely their human life,” pro-life leader Marek Michalcik said during the march, according to the report.
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Catholic Archbishop Stanislav Zvolensky of Bratislava also spoke at the event. He told pro-life advocates to remember that life is a gift, the reports continued.
“Man did not give himself life; it is a gift given to him,” Zvolensky said.
Reuters reports many in the crowd held signs declaring, “A human is human regardless of size” and “Who kills an unborn child kills the future of the nation.”
Euractiv reports the socially conservative Smer currently is the ruling party in Slovakia, but elections are slated for February 2020. It is not clear if pro-life legislation will move forward this fall, but the huge turnout at the pro-life march is a sign of hope.
Abortions are down drastically in the country. In 2018, there were 7,350 abortions reported, compared to more than 20,000 in 1997, according to the Slovakia Statistical Office.
Most European countries allow unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Northern Ireland and Malta still protect unborn babies from abortion, and Ireland legalized abortions earlier this year. However, pro-life countries are facing intense international pressure from some of the world’s richest men to legalize abortion on demand.