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Thousands Rally for the Unborn at London's Annual March for Life

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London, England, witnessed a powerful show of support for the sanctity of life as thousands of participants gathered for the ninth annual March for Life on Saturday. The event, which processed through Westminster in London, culminated at the Houses of Parliament, drawing attention to the issue of abortion in the United Kingdom.

Photo credit: Benjamin Davies

Photo credit: Benjamin Davies


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/5/2023 (9 months ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Pro-Life, London, march abortion, life, Catholic, rally

According to law enforcement estimates, approximately 7,000 individuals joined the march, demonstrating their commitment to advocating for the rights of the unborn. The event, organized by March for Life UK, aimed to raise awareness about the sanctity of life and challenge the prevailing culture of abortion.

In 2021, England and Wales recorded a staggering 214,256 abortions, as reported by the UK government's official website. Abortion was legalized in these regions under the Abortion Act of 1967. In 2022, the UK Parliament voted to permanently allow women in England and Wales to self-administer both abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, without requiring a visit to a hospital or clinic. This decision followed a period during which at-home abortions were temporarily allowed.

A notable development this year was the enactment of a law making it illegal for anyone to influence a woman's decision to access abortion services within 150 meters of an abortion clinic. The legislation aimed to protect women's autonomy in their decision-making regarding abortion.

The March for Life featured training sessions designed to educate participants on effectively engaging with the public on the topic of abortion. Attendees sang pro-life songs, chanted slogans, and carried signs expressing their pro-life stance.

Signs at the march conveyed messages such as "Abortion destroys the freedom to live" and "Life from conception, no exception." Many of these signs featured religious imagery, including depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, emphasizing the religious aspect of the pro-life movement.

Despite the overwhelmingly pro-life atmosphere, there were also counter-protesters present. Social media videos captured a counter-protester making an offensive gesture towards a pro-life attendee who appeared to be a priest. The priest responded with a simple, "I love you."

Religious leaders from various denominations, including the Catholic Church, actively participated in the rally. Notable figures such as Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster John Sherrington, Bishop Richard Moth of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley in Scotland, and Monsignor Keith Newton, ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, were in attendance, emphasizing the ecumenical nature of the event.

The theme of this year's march was "Freedom to Live." The event was co-directed by Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, who gained attention after being arrested in December 2022 for praying outside a Birmingham abortion clinic. Vaughan-Spruce was acquitted of charges related to a local order restricting speech near abortion clinics but was subsequently arrested for violating the same order by continuing her prayerful presence.

Speaking at the march, Vaughan-Spruce emphasized the need to defend the right to peacefully offer alternatives to pregnant women and decried the high abortion figures in the country.

Another prominent speaker was Father Sean Gough, a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, who faced charges and eventual acquittal for holding a sign that read "praying for free speech" near a Birmingham abortion clinic, challenging a local censorship order.

March for Life UK noted that one of the most moving moments of the day came when a young woman named Ellie shared her story of regret after having three abortions. Despite attempts by pro-abortion counter-protesters to drown out her message, Ellie boldly stated, "I think I can speak for every post-abortive woman [standing] here today that abortion didn't grant us freedom but made us captives in one way or another."

Looking ahead, the March for Life in the UK will mark its 10th anniversary next year. Co-director Ben Thatcher expressed his hope for the march to draw 10,000 attendees, underscoring the enduring commitment to advocating for the unborn and defending the sanctity of life in the United Kingdom.

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