Several thousand gathered in Paris to demonstrate against euthanasia and the constitutional protection of abortion.
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It was bitingly cold, but it would have taken much more than that to discourage these demonstrators who participated in the March for Life in Paris, France. At the heart of their concerns this year: the constitutional protection of abortion, which was to be studied in the French Senate on February 1, and euthanasia, the legalization of which has been at the heart of debates since this fall. The Citizens’ Convention on the End of Life ended its fourth session recently.
According to the organizers of the march, some 20,000 people were present; there were only 6,300 according to the Paris police headquarters. Starting from the Montparnasse train station, the procession moved down to Vauban square, in front of the Hôtel des Invalides. “Our goal is to put solidarity back on the agenda,” Nicolas Tardy-Joubert, president of the March for Life, told Aleteia.
This solidarity concerns both the beginning and the end of life: “It must address women in distress who aren’t offered any other way out than abortion, but also people who suffer and are close to death.”
According to Nicolas Tardy-Joubert, euthanasia is in fact a political response to the lack of access to palliative care. “Our priority is 100% access to palliative care and 0% euthanasia,” he says. “The prohibition of killing must remain absolute and is not negotiable.”
In France, 223,000 abortions are performed every year. Only 30% of people are eligible for palliative care, according to the organizing committee.
Welcoming life and accompanying vulnerable people
Clotilde, who came with her family from Cherbourg in Normandy, says that “it’s important for us to show our children how crucial it is to defend life, from conception to natural death.” Domitille, a 21-year-old student at a school for specialized educators, comes every year. “I continue to come because, like Jérôme Lejeune, I believe that the quality of a civilization is measured by the respect it shows to the weakest of its members,” she says. “Life is priceless, and we must protect it, whatever its stage.”
“The fight continues, it is never lost”
Breton, Burgundian, and Alsatian flags were in evidence, among others. Many came from far away to swell the ranks and fill the streets of Paris. Young people are not staying on the sidelines with their arms crossed. They sang, danced, and waved the famous yellow and pink signs: “Stop bothering embryos,” “It’s my body, not your choice,” and “Protecting the weak: that’s strong!”
There was a warm and good-natured atmosphere, disrupted by a flash appearance of five Femen [French radical feminists, ed.], quickly escorted out of the procession by the security service before being questioned by the police.
“I’m here to oppose euthanasia and abortion,” said law student Brieuc at the end of the march. “It’s a fight worth fighting. Nothing is ever decided in advance. Without being too idealistic, it’s up to us to tip the balance.”