The March for Life was held in the streets of Paris on Sunday, January 22nd, with special issues at stake. The inclusion of the right to abortion in the French constitution is currently under consideration and there is a threat that a law authorizing euthanasia could be passed.
The March for Life is traditionally held in Paris on the third Sunday in January, to commemorate the enactment of the Veil Law on 17 January 1975, which authorized abortion in France. This year, however, the theme of the end of life was put forward as a priority by the demonstrators, as the government makes no secret of its desire to change the law to authorize assisted suicide.
Nicolas Tardy-Joubert, president of the March for Life, is firmly opposed to this project: “the prohibition of killing must remain fundamental.”
For the organizers of the movement, the challenge is to encourage politicians to think differently, and to refuse to encourage the culture of death by instead developing alternative policies that respect life and the dignity of the human person.
“While 26 French departments are lacking palliative care units, we believe that the political priority must be brought there,” added Tardy-Joubert.
The question of the addition of the right to abortion in the French constitution was also on the agenda. The proposal was voted on in the national assembly in November but still has to be considered in the Senate, which is planned for February 1st. Last October, the Senate voted against the provision in committee. It is likely that the upper house, dominated by the Right, will invalidate this project again, but strong media pressure may make the senators change their minds. The demonstrators did their part to send them an enthusiastic signal of support and resistance.
The press spoke of “a few thousand participants,” while the organizers put the figure at 20,000. The youthfulness of the march attracted the attention of observers. Five activists from the organization Femen, which describes itself as “the special force of feminism, its spearhead militant unit” tried to disrupt the procession before being arrested.
The March for Life received the support of several personalities, academics, and doctors. On the other hand, no deputy was present. The Duke of Anjou, pretender to the throne of France and head of the eldest branch of the Bourbons, present in Paris for the commemoration of the 230 years of the execution of King Louis XVI, joined the procession.