.- Dolores Meehan, co-founder of Walk for Life West Coast, will be a keynote speaker at the sixth annual Paris “March for Life” on Jan. 17. The Paris March, known in French as “Marche Pour Le Respect de la Vie,” has become a rallying point for pro-lifers across Europe. The Paris March attracts groups from France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and the United States, the California Catholic Daily reports. Last year’s March drew an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 participants.
The event began in 2005 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the French law legalizing abortion. Their slogan was “30 Years is enough!”
Meehan told the California Catholic Daily she was “delighted” to be invited to speak at the March and was “intrigued” by the similarities between the French and the Californian events.
“Both the March and the Walk for Life West Coast began in 2005, both take place in cities with a strong history of radical and countercultural action, both draw impressive numbers of young people, and both recognize that without compassion and justice there can be no common good or true Culture of Life.”
The French event is non-denominational and non-partisan in its mission to defend human life.
Its mission statement says pro-lifers ask their countrymen to reflect upon the “disastrous result” of 35 years of legal abortion, the “unspeakable sufferings of millions of women” and the “blatant injustice towards millions of our unborn brothers and sisters.”
The event also notes that despite its world-leading contraception rates, France has the second highest abortion rate in Western Europe.
“The way forward is one of compassion and justice: compassion by providing expectant mothers with the real choice, that of preserving their unborn life; and justice with the comprehensive abolition of abortion,” the Paris March for Life’s mission statement continues
The 1975 abortion law’s sponsor, Simon Veil, herself has deemed the high abortion rate “distressing.”
Two new groups have joined the Paris March. One, Etudiants pro-vie (Pro-life Students), is inspired by the American group Students for Life and has opened chapters in many French universities. The other, Soignants Porteurs d’Esperance, is a group of pro-life medical professionals.
According to the California Catholic Daily, after attending the Paris March for Life, Meehan will return to San Francisco in time for the 2010 Walk for Life West Coast on Jan. 23.
The Walk for Life West Coast will feature speakers such as Live Action president Lila Rose and former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson. Its website is http://www.walkforlifewc.com