BERLIN — More than 7,500 people took part in the annual March for Life in Berlin on Saturday, under the motto: “No Child is Unsuitable.”
The peaceful gathering was organized by the Federal Association for the Right to Life. Participants held aloft placards supporting the right to life from conception to natural death.
Five bishops took part in the event: Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, who also celebrated the closing ecumenical Church service, Berlin's Archbishop Heiner Koch, and Auxiliary Bishops Matthias Heinrich of Berlin, Dominikus Schwaderlapp of Cologne, and Florian Wörner of Augsburg.
Archbishop Koch called on the demonstrators to strive to ensure “that every human being can develop well, from their first moment in the womb to their final breath.”
Right to Life-Association president Martin Lohmann, reflecting on the slight increase in participants and stronger presence of bishops from last year to this year, told media representatives: “Our movement for life is growing — and that is a good thing!”
Several Protestant groups participated in or supported the event. However, the official Lutheran association of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia did not participate in the march, instead issuing a statement distancing itself from the event, and essentially declaring that it supported the “right of women to choose.” While the Lutheran group said it “recognize[ed] the importance of advocating unborn life,” its positions were “not commensurate” with those of the March for Life.
Abortion is available for the first trimester on demand in Germany, provided a woman goes through state-sponsored counseling and a three-day waiting period. Late-term abortion is permitted in cases where the mother’s physical and psychological health are at severe risk.
Counter-demonstration Draws Fewer Participants
According to Berlin police, about 1,500 people came to a counter-demonstration organized by the Alliance for Sexual Self-Determination. Police had to stop counter-demonstrators from blocking the peaceful pro-life marchers.
On its website, pro-abortion and gender-ideological demands are found alongside accusations that participants of the March for Life are “Christian fundamentalists” with “a reactionary worldview,” amongst other things.
The pro-abortion alliance is supported by several German politicians and parties, including the Greens, the Left Party and several politicians of the SPD, among them Berlin's Governing Mayor, Michael Müller.