ZAGREB, 7 May 2022 – Two civil society protests took place in the northern city of Varaždin on Saturday – a March for Life and a counter-protest titled Saturday for Freedom.
At the same time, a March for Life also took place in the eastern towns of Vinkovci and Slavonski Brod, and the head of the NGO In the name of the family, Željka Markić, joined the march from Varaždin.
“I think it is important that we convey the message that it has been scientifically confirmed that human life begins at conception, that the heart of an unborn child begins to beat on the 18th day, that a child in the uterus feels pain, smiles and swallows. These are all important scientific facts,” Markić said. “We need to build a society of tolerance and life,” she added.
Silvija Svoren, coordinator of the March for Life in Varaždin, said they support life from birth to natural death. “It means we are always for life. That is our goal. We are fighting for the unborn child and his mother, for the family.”
The Saturday freedom rally was organized by the local youth association VUK, whose president Lea Labaš said they had come together to protect women’s rights and human rights.
“We believe that every woman has the right to have her own body and the right to choose,” Labaš said. “We of course also have to think about the future because some of us may find ourselves in this terrible situation where we will need empathy and we want everyone to be able to exercise that right.”
The March for Life was joined by Ladislav Ilčić, Croatian Member of the European Parliament, who said Croatia needs young people and children for economic growth.
“If we want higher pensions, we need young people who will contribute to pension funds. If we want personal happiness, children can help a lot in that regard. I think all politicians should support that,” said Ilcić.
MP Natalija Martinčević supported the Saturday for Freedom rally, criticizing doctors who invoked conscientious objection in the case of Mirela Čavajda, a pregnant woman who requested a termination of pregnancy due to the poor condition of her baby .
“I respect their right to conscientious objection, but at their own pace in their own private clinics. When paid with government money, they have to follow the laws of Croatia,” Martinčević said.
It is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 people participated in the March for Life, while Saturday for Freedom drew far fewer protesters.
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