First "March for Life" in Finland

On Saturday, September 11, a historic event took place in Helsinki: the first March for Life in Finland. The objective, like that of other marches that have been held in numerous places, was to stimulate public debate on the reality of human life in the womb, the phenomenon of abortion and the defense of the right to life of unborn children. 

Raimo Goyarrola-November 13, 2021-Reading time: 5 minutes
Pro-life demonstrators on a street in Helsinki, Finland.

Abortion in Finland is allowed almost freely. Although limited to numerous cases and gestation time, in practice any reason given by the mother gives the green light to the elimination of the child. 

In our country, unfortunately, abortion is a taboo subject. It is not talked about, nor is it reported. It is silenced, as if it were something shameful. And so it is. But there is no possibility of public debate on what human life in the womb means. Silence. For some time now it has been convenient and important to gain visibility, to open the dialogue and what less than walking down the most important street of the Finnish capital. 

The march on Saturday, September 11 in Helsinki was a turning point. The organizers estimated a turnout of about 30 people. In Finland there is no culture of street demonstrations. An attendance of 30 people is more than an achievement. If it reaches 50, it is a success. Well, we exceeded 300 participants, escorted by police who cut off traffic or directed it to adjacent streets. 

It is no longer taboo. The visibility of the defense of life is important. The media picked up absolutely nothing in their digital, print or audible versions. Silence. There is interest in silencing the truth in some areas. But there is also interest in making it visible in the street. Is there nothing more humane than dialogue? This march has been a before and after because it has mobilized people, has united people and has given a new impulse to the visibility of something that in itself is beautiful. We are not alone. We are also society.  

Some 9,000 unborn Finns are killed each year. This is just the number needed for a generational replacement in society. We are at unsustainable numbers for a stable future. Children are needed. But the time has come to talk, to communicate, to dialogue.

The march was organized by two "pro-life" groups recently born in the Catholic parishes of Helsinki and Kouvola. It has also been supported by two non-Catholic Christian associations. 

One of the organizers is a young mother who is already a grandmother. When her third child was born, the doctor offered to sterilize her, as this is the custom in the country. She refused. More children followed. Eventually the third child, who would have been the last according to the patterns of this "throwaway" society, fell ill with leukemia. Young adult with an encouraging future. Chemotherapy treatment was started, but to no avail. A bone marrow transplant became necessary as a last resort. The only compatible sibling was the seventh. The latter saved the third. The generosity and courage of some parents also brought with them the solution. Nature is wise.  

A scientific fact

The march opened at Senate Square, in the heart of the city, from where the marchers departed for Parliament. In front of the Parliament, the program included speeches, songs and music.

In his opening speech, Dr. Miikka Nummenpää stated that the beginning of human life, when the two germ cells unite, is a scientific fact, not a religious one. We are talking about biology, about human science, not about religious dogmas to be imposed on others. He also emphasized that speaking in favor of a child in its mother's womb does not mean opposing the rights of women, since every human being, whether healthy or sick, whether in its first or last weeks of life, is an equally valuable gift. "No one can have the right to deprive another person of the right to life, which is the first human right."Nummenpää recalled.

Marika Kaksonen, president of the Human Rights Organization and a doctor, expressed her concern about the initiative. OmaTahto2020According to the law, an abortion applicant should receive a prescription for an abortion immediately after the relevant medical examinations of pregnancy, without even having to discuss the reasons for requesting such an abortion. "If this happens, it would harm not only unborn children, but also girls and women who seek abortion against their will under pressure from a violent partner, exploiter or trafficker, or in a moment of desperation caused by difficult circumstances."said Kaksonen. "Identifying and helping these vulnerable people would be nearly impossible with this change in the law, and would likely increase the number of unwanted abortions.".

Protecting the life of the child

Kirsi Morgan-MacKay, chairwoman of the Right to Life Associationspoke movingly about how abortion can also harm the woman who has it. She shared her sad experience of having two abortions. "Although the nursing staff had just convinced him that it was an embryo a few millimeters in size, a moment later I was still holding in my hand a perfect little boy a few centimeters in size with eyes, mouth, hands and toes."Kirsi explained about her second abortion. "I was a perfect person, and I realized that I had just taken the life of my little boy, an innocent person whom I began to love. The abortion really broke me.".

In her closing speech at the march, MP Päivi Räsänen stated that laws can also be changed to protect a child's life. "As we strive for changes in legislation, we must also develop support measures for women who have become pregnant in a difficult life situation."Räsänen emphasized. "It is untenable that almost all abortions are performed for social reasons in our welfare society. Social problems should be solved by social policy means, not by ending life ". In Finland more than 90 % of abortions are performed for social reasons. 

During the speech of this well-known politician, three people appeared with horns and shouts and tried to prevent her speech from being heard. This is not very common in Finland. With a smile and calmly Päivi said that the participants in the March for Life we were open to a dialogue about the beauty of human life even with those people who with their horns, shouting and insults do not want to talk like people. 

Päivi will face trial over an article he wrote many years ago in which he defended marriage for what it is, a stable relationship between man and woman open to life, to which homosexual acts cannot be equated. 

We live in turbulent times. But there have always been. A new omnipresent, omnipotent, all-embracing religion is being born. With its own creed, its own commandments, its own morals, its own flag. Flag of an alliance in which it seems that there is no room for God, nor for natural law, nor for revealed law. Or at least there is no room for the image of God in the human person, as man and woman, called to mutual love and life. This new religion is nothing more than an ideology. Will it last? Time will tell.

Nature is wise and beautiful. The ecological defense of human life, with reason and heart, will bear lasting fruit. A new springtime in defense of human life has begun in Finland. The March for Life will be repeated year after year. While we wait for the second march, with respect and patience, with dialogue and visibility, we will try that many more innocent and defenseless human beings can see the light of this wonderful world, starting with the smiling face of their mother.

The authorRaimo Goyarrola

Omnes correspondent in Finland.

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