“Women don’t need the phrase: You can’t do it. They need sensitive guidance so they can unleash their great potential.” With these words, midwife Sarah Göbel gave an insight into the situation of women in a pregnancy conflict at the opening rally of this year’s March for Life, as reported by the Bundesverband Lebensrecht.
The march takes place every year in September in Berlin. It starts with a large rally on a stage and is followed by a long demonstration through downtown Berlin, ending with an ecumenical service. This year the service was led by the Vicar Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Germany, Emmanuel Sfiatkos, and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Maria Renz from the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
In her welcome address, Alexandra Linder, chairwoman of the German Right to Life Association, also cited positive examples of respect for human rights, such as in the United States, where over 63 million children have been aborted in 51 years (a third of them in the African-American population, which makes up only 16% of the total population.
The rally at the March for Life, moderated by Linder as well as BVL board members Hartmut Steeb and Cornelia Kaminski, continued with musical accompaniment by the band Gnadensohn, featuring US-American Terrisa Bukovinac, who, though a declared atheist, however, vehemently supports the right to life. She stressed the need for social justice and the unconditional commitment of all to achieve it.
One participant told iFamNews regarding the counter-demonstration: “There was no sign of intimidation by the culture of death, there was prayer, singing, talking with each other. Our presence as Christians, our existence is already a sufficient testimony. Those who are on the right side do not need to shout to make their points. I had the impression that it was a common celebration of Christian culture and the Christian image of man, a celebration for life.”
“When I met counter-demonstrators, it usually didn’t affect me. The only sensation was a certain amazement and also some pity, how is it possible that people can get so ideologically lost and not even notice their misery. A certain pity for the counter-demonstrators could also be heard from the conversations of the other participants of the march. I did not experience any hatred or attacks on the counter-demonstrators,” he added.
As always, the Berlin police had their hands full with protecting the pro-lifers. Chants of “Raise your voice, my body my choice,” “Your children will be like us, your children will all be queer,” and “No God, no state, no patriarchy” echoed along the march. However, the counter-demonstrators were successfully kept completely away from the March for Life. Whistles and shouts/chants were sometimes only heard in the distance. Sporadically there were direct roadside encounters, but the police were always on the scene. The counter-demonstrators were clearly in the minority.
The pro-lifers, on the other hand, held up posters with slogans such as “Killing is not a medical skill,” “Every human being is worthy,” and “Real men stand by their children.” There were also creative slogans such as: “On Mars, a single cell would already be considered life.”
All in all, the march was a complete success and the biggest public declaration for life in Germany this year.