Among the participants there were representatives of all generations, mainly young people.
A novelty is the way the March was perceived by the media, unlike last year. The news was rich, interspersed with many positive comments on life, and in some cases, the event was particularly debated among the important issues of the day.
It is an expanding event and had echoes in many important institutions such as Parliament, City Councils. Representatives of these important state institutions were primarily concerned about declining birth rates and poor health of women in Romania, due to abortion.
March for Life in Bucharest
The event, scheduled to take place before the Feast of the Annunciation, was initiated by the “Gift of Life” in Timisoara five years ago, and last year it was organized for the first time in the capital Bucharest, together with local branch of Association "Provita for the Born and the Unborn". Many other non-governmental, Christian and pro-life organizations came together this year, to support the March for Life. The March was held simultaneously in the following cities: Bucharest, Craiova, Constanta, Deva, Falticeni, Iasi, Ciuc, Oradea, Pitesti, Resita, Satu Mare, Targu Mures, Timisoara, Alba-Iulia, St. George, Miercurea Ciuc, Baia Mare, Targoviste etc. There were many people from the countryside who joined too the Marches in the cities.
In Bucharest, the route was Bulevardul Victoria (Victoria Avenue), with the end in front of the Parliament Palace. About 1,000 people (especially youth and children) marched in the Bucharest March of Life. The majority of participants were affiliated to different non-governmental organizations, which promote life and protection of children and family.
Among messages written on the banners and transmitted to the public, one could note: “Choose life”, “Do not kill”, “Say YES to Life”, “Life Begins at Conception”, “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart”, “We Are For Life”, “Right to Life”, “True Doctors Do Not Kill Children”.
The youth handed over flyers with informative texts about the beginning of life and the tragic consequences of abortion. A Manifesto which required the adoption of legislation in favor of life and family and actions to research the true causes of infertility and low birth rate was launched for the society and politicians, during this March.
In front of the Romanian Parliament, organizers addressed to the participants to the March. Bogdan Stanciu, president of the Bucharest Branch of Pro-Vita said: “Our 'March for Life' is not by chance on the eve of Annunciation. Mother of God was overjoyed at the news of being pregnant with Jesus Christ. The news that a family will have children should be a joy for us too. [...]In the past 50 years there were killed 22,178,906 children, through abortion, far more than the nowadays population of Romania” [which is now equal to 19.24 million people, according to the last Romanian census]. “The dramatic situation of abortion in Romania is a legacy of communism, when people forget about God, and had their brains washed by the atheistic ideas”, said Dr. Daniela Paun, president of the Association “Gift of Life” Bucharest, in her address to the participants. “At present, the phenomenon of abortion in Romania is determined largely by the abortion industry pressures that make huge money from abortions”, said Dr. Paun. Many other participants spoke, emphasizing the idea of celebrating life at conception.
The March for Life in other Romanian cities
In Cluj, the March for Life was attended by around 500-600 people. The organizers, in particular, were the representatives of the Greek Catholic Diocese of Cluj-Gherla and many other Christian associations. The banners carried by the participants in Cluj transmitted the following messages: “Abortion Stops a Beating heart”, “How Much Costs an Abortion? A Human Life”, “Be Your Child's Hero”, “Romania, a Christian country – Why Do You Kill?”, “We Were All Embryos!”.
The Greek Catholic Bishop of Cluj-Gherla Diocese, Florentin Crihălmeanu, who attended the rally, together with many other priests, said that the March for Life is a Christian initiative which aims to draw attention “on protection of life from its beginning in a natural way to its end in a natural way”.
In Arad, the March was organized by organizations “Drept” (Right) and “Alege Viaţa” (Choose Life). The participants stopped at Children's Hospital to commemorate the unborn aborted children. In front of the Orthodox Cathedral “Holy Trinity”, a cross of candles in memory of children killed by abortion was created. “With this March, we want to warn people about the tragedy of abortion in Romania. We affirm the right to life of unborn children from conception, respect for life in all its phases and the need for family support”, said Ana-Maria Jitea, coordinator of the campaign “Choose Life” in schools of Arad.
In Oradea, hundreds of locals gathered in the center of the city, near the statue of Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), who ruled all three Romanian principalities in a personal union. Many parents brought their children with them. The following messages were printed on the posters and banners: “Thank you, mom, for my life”, “Your mother chose life, do the same!”, “My mom did not kill me!” or “Abortion does not free you! It burdens your soul!”. “Statistics show that in Romania, on average, a woman has 4 abortions, but we have absolute record of women with 35 abortions or more each. Figures are frightening. We have every year 47,000 teenagers who have abortions and kill their babies in their wombs. That is why I support this March. We have to cry for those who cannot cry”, said Florica Chereches, deputy mayor of Oradea, a mother of four children and a grandmother too. Also, the March was attended by Mrs. Rozalia Biro, the second deputy mayor of Oradea. Mrs. Rozalia Biro wore a banner: “Our Children – Our Future! Say NO to Abortion!”
In Timisoara, the event held its fifth edition, at the initiative of Monsignor Ioan Chişărău, president of Darul Vieţii (TheGift of Life, HLI affiliated). The March united all the confessions for life. There was a special guest, Joannes Bucher, Coordinator for Europe of the International Human Life International. Among other important guests and participants were Senator George David, Deputy Cristi Dugulescu, Greek Catholic Bishop Alexandru of Lugoj, Fr Silviu Damşe, representative of Timisoara Orthodox Archdiocese, Monsignor Todea and Fr. Titus Sas, from Cluj, Father Emmanuel, sent by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest, Fr Fazakas (Reformed Church), Mr. Ghiţă Alexei (Director of the Provita Esthera Timisoara), Alex Neagoe, Baptist pastor, and, of course, Fr. Ioan Chişărău, president of Darul Vieţii.
In Iasi, the March for Life was organized by the Association “First Step”, “Solidarity and Hope”, an Orthodox organization and the Diocesan Center “Caritas” Iasi. Over 300 people attended it. Participants started in the Cultural Palace Square, and after saying the prayer “Our Father”, they went to Maternity Hospital “Cuza Voda”, where they lit candles in memory of children killed by abortion. The speeches were delivered by Fr. Razvan Petre Aonofriesei Puiu, Orthodox priest, Iosif Dorcu, priest from the Roman Catholic Diocese and Geanina Ungurianu, President of Association “First Step”.
The March for Life reflected in the Romanian mass-media
The event was reported in almost all the national press, by newspapers and news agencies, such as “Evenimentul Zilei”, “Gândul”, “Adevărul”, “Ziarul Lumina”, “Hotnews”, “Mediafax” and television channels, like TVR, TVRinfo, Antena 1, Realitatea.net, Antena 3. A show at B1TV tackled some of the subjects raised by participants in the march like the high abortion rate, the consequences of abortion in the society and the low birth rate. Participants, parliamentarians among them, agreed that a new attitude regarding the condition of the unborn children and family support in Romania should be built. It was also noted that the young generation is more and more against abortion. They emphasized the need of activities of the Romanian Orthodox Church regarding education on family and tragedy of abortion.
As a conclusion of the events that took place throughout the country, on the eve of the Annunciation, Bogdan Stanciu said: “The most important is that there were twice more participants than last year, around a thousand participants. The vast majority of participants were young and very young people. We are pleased that the press was very much present. Little by little, the society starts to be interested in this topic. Our goal, as the organizers of this march, was to bring the issue of abortion on the public agenda. We are glad that we succeeded to do this.”
Dr. Daniela Păun from the Bucharest branch of the "Gift of Life" Association from Timisoara, said: “Our organization is thankful to all the participants to the March for Life in Bucharest, especially to those who worked hard in organizing it: the Byzantine Orthodox Association Pro-Vita for the Born and Unborn, the Catholic Association for Families "Vladimir Ghika", the Greek-Catholic "Annunciation" Movement for the protection of the unborn children, as to the Protestant and Neo-Protestans brothers in Christ. We hope to continue to collaborate during the whole year in the capital of the Romanian abortion industry in order to obtain as soon as possible, the recognition of the beginning of the human life from the moment of conception and the interdiction of the abortion in Romania. Overcoming the censorship of the main national private mass media through internet and personal contacts, we hope to harmonize our projects with those of the pro-life warriors from the whole Romania in order to realize he objectives of the Manifest for Life (click here for english version) presented at the March."
(by Larisa Iftime, Provita Media)