By Michael van der Mast and Bert Block
Cry for Life, the Netherlands
November 14, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Dutch annual March For Life was held on Saturday, December 12, 2009. The event was organized by Cry for Life and Christians for Truth and attracted some 700 participants - the largest number ever since the marches began 17 years ago.
The March For Life is held each year in December, commemorating the date - December 18, 1980 - when abortion was approved in the Dutch Parliament. Currently abortion up to the 24th week is allowed.
The 2009 March started from the famous Dam Square located in the heart of Amsterdam and ended at the Keizersgracht Church. Demonstrators carried replicas of a ten-week-old fetus. Ten weeks is about the time during pregnancy when most babies are aborted. Participants also carried many protest signs calling for the end to legalized abortion.
The Lord Mayor of Amsterdam, Mr. J.H. Cohen, acknowledged the right of Cry for Life to stand up for the unborn in a public rally. In a letter to director Dr. L.P. Dorenbos, he promised a large police force would be available to prevent any opposition forces from preventing the march. This was a response to last year's march when the event was significantly delayed by physical confrontations resulting in the arrest of several pro-choice demonstrators. True to the mayor's promise, the police were out in force and effectively kept the 50 or so anti-life protesters followers from hindering the 2009 march.
This year's event began with a welcome and introductions by Dr. Dorenbos. There were prayers after which Christians For Truth (CFT) President Jan de Bruin told those present how he was the seventh child in his family, and that his parents found out they were expecting him in difficult circumstances during WWII at the time of Nazi occupation. His mother considered having an abortion had it then been legal. But it was not and he was saved.
FIRE Church leader Frank Pot explained the meaning of the red tape with the letters LIFE taped over the mouths of some marchers. It signified the silence of the unborn baby who has no voice in the struggle for his own life. He asked those gathered to march in silence.
Belgian law student Michel De Keukelaere spoke on how abortion has greatly reduced his generation.
Other noted participants to the 2009 March included the French Droit de Naître (Right to Life), and Agnes Jonckheere from the Belgian Free Christian Democrats (VCD). Each speaker gave a stirring speech, calling those attending the March to action to help eliminate abortion from Holland and the world.
The 2009 March For Life was a dignified witness to life in the secular and liberal Dutch capital city. The silent march along the 2 km long route through the city ended with a church service in the Keizersgracht Church.
The night before the pro-life event, left wing radicals had visited the church, expressing their anti-life views by throwing red paint on the entry steps and writing in red paint on the entrance walls. They scrawled slogans such as "away with Cry for Life," "pro-choice" and "keep the Church away from my crotch."
Despite the pro-abortion protests, however, the leadership of the 2009 March For Life said they believe that this year was the best march ever. New people have come forward to be part of the pro-life movement, they said, adding that many young people have also joined the ranks.