The Slovenia Times

Pro-choice and pro-life protesters rally in Ljubljana

A pro-life group holds a rally in Ljubljana. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
Pro-life and pro-choice groups took to the streets of Ljubljana on 7 October, only days after an incident between the two groups prompted Slovenia's president to dismiss a member of her youth advisory body.

The annual March for Life in Ljubljana was held within a close proximity of a counterprotest held by a pro-choice group in the centre of the capital. Marked by police presence, both rallies passed off peacefully.

In the run-up to its annual rally, the pro-life group planted little flags in the Zvezda Park on 2 October to stand for aborted children, when a group of women, among them a member of the president's youth council, started removing the flags.

In response President Nataša Pirc Musar dismissed the member, Sara Štiglic, criticising her for what the president sees as disrespectful communication. In her statements, Pirc Musar made a point of saying that she was pro-choice and did not support the views of the group organising the March for Life.

The president's move drew praise from the former prime minister Janez Janša and other conservative politicians, while Prime Minister Robert Golob and left groups sided with Štiglic.

Štiglic said today that the group did not want to see their rally as a continuation of the dismissal story, wanting to highlight, instead, a response to "a renewed attempt to interfere in the basic human rights, women's rights."

A pro-choice group holds a rally in Ljubljana alongside a pro-life group. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

A number of participants of the pro-choice rally turned up with disguised faces and wearing head-to-toe black, after Štiglic, who was identified in a video taken of her action on 2 October, urged them to come to the rally wearing scarves, hats and dark clothes, saying "our faces are not the object of your hatred".

Focusing foremost on opposing abortion, the March for Life this year went beyond pregnancy termination, also expressing opposition to euthanasia, which has been a topic in Slovenia for a while.

"In addition to being the voice of unborn children, we also want to give the voice to all those in danger of medical poisoning," March for Life coordinator Urša Cankar Soares said, referring to euthanasia.

Health and social institutions must remain friendly to the elderly and the sick, and must not turn into institutions where "they will be talked into suicide by poisoning," she said, adding that the group would oppose potential euthanasia legislation also by joining a possible referendum initiative.

In March, the same group organised a March for Life in Maribor, the first ever to be staged in Slovenia's second largest city.


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