ROME-- Thousands participated in an anti-abortion ‘March for Life’ in Rome on Mother’s Day, joined by Mayor Giorgio Alemanno.
The march, the first of its kind in Rome and only the second in Italy, began at the Colosseum at 9.30am and proceeded through the city’s main thoroughfares to reach Castel Sant’Angelo two hours later. The crowd were a diverse assortment of young and old, clergy and lay people, including several well-known politicians. A large number of the demonstrators were members of religious orders, and the protest also attracted visitors from anti-abortion groups in Europe and the United States.
Many protestors carried placards and banners condemning “genocide” and “state-sponsored extermination”, calling for a repeal of Law 194. Passed in 1978, it guarantees easy access to abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy, and was the first legislation of its kind in Italy. Previous attempts to restrict abortion access have been soundly defeated; although so have attempts to extend the period in which a woman may terminate her pregnancy.
The march was peacefully counter-protested by women’s groups, who distributed leaflets and unfurled their own banners along the demonstration route. One of the biggest read “Backstreet abortions, millions in profit - the morality of priests and bosses,” while a more flippant contribution simply said: “An egg is not a chicken.”
Mayor Alemanno was amongst those marching, and came in for criticism both from counter-protestors and the opposition Democratic Party. Regional party chairman Dario Nanni blasted Alemanno for associating the city council with “neofascist, homophobic and antisemitic groups like Forza Nuova and Militia Christi… which consider women who have had to terminate their pregnancies murderers.” Alemanno riposted that these extremist positions did not reflect his own beliefs, and that he only wished to show that “we believe in the value of life.”
Nuns demonstrate against abortion during Mother's Day protest.