Over a thousand people gathered from all over New Zealand in the nation’s capital, Wellington, on Saturday for the National March for Life.
A joyful atmosphere was apparent throughout the family-friendly event which exists to celebrate the value of life and the unborn child, while peacefully protesting the nation’s extreme abortion law.
“Forty-three years ago, Parliament passed a law that said not all unborn children have a right to life. Under that law more than half a million pre-born children were aborted” the organisers pointed out in a press release prior to the March.
“Abortion not only takes the life of a human being, it wounds women physically, emotionally, and spiritually; and families are negatively affected.”
“New Zealanders love both women and their unborn children, and we want the law to reflect that love.”
Gathering at Civic Square, participants were treated to entertainment by Jazz musicians, and the infamous Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge whose vibrant and joyful performance added to the celebratory mood.
Children enjoyed a bouncy castle, face painting, and balloons.
Support for pregnant mothers highlighted
Prior to the March, pro-life, and pro-family materials and services were highlighted at Civic Square, showing those gathered the wide variety of supports and options available to pregnant women in need, and to those suffering after an abortion.
Gianna’s Choice Mobile Life Centre, a programme of Family Life International, made a bold statement about how willing the pro-life movement is to support mothers in their greatest hour of need.
“The Mobile Life Centre is a tangible expression of our willingness to serve” said Colleen Bayer, FLI’s founder and director. “When people see the Centre, a whole new world of possibilities of reaching abortion-vulnerable women is opened up for them.”
According to Mrs Bayer, FLI has had enquiries from other pro-life groups about the logistics of setting up a Mobile Life Centre in their own regions.
Later at Parliament, a newly formed group ProLove, which provides packs of donated baby goods to mothers in need, explained their mission to the crowd. Situated in South Auckland, in just a few short months the group have distributed 500 boxes of goods to mothers and babies in the local community.
Agnes Loheni gives a warning
Once at Parliament Grounds Agnes Loheni, mother of five, and a former List MP for National who sat on the Abortion Legislation Committee addressed attendees.
Referencing the State’s response to protecting the vulnerable during Covid, Loheni boldly proclaimed “we can bring the full weight of this State to bear when it comes to protecting the vulnerable, unless that person is an unborn baby, in which case the state sits idly by.”
“History has never looked kindly on governments that sanction the killing of its own citizens, and history will not judge the passing of this Abortion Legislation kindly.”
Loheni concluded by giving a stark warning about the coming restrictions on speech about abortion. Referencing the miraculous defeat of the “anti-free speech and the anti-freedom safe zones” in the Abortion Legislation Act, she noted that it was “likely that this will be raised again in this term of government.”
It “is only a short jump from banning speech outside an abortion clinic to banning speech that is anti-abortion,” she finished.
Simon O’Connor looks towards a day when life will return to Aotearoa
Parliament’s most vocal pro-life politician, Simon O’Connor enthused the crowd with his straight-talking exhortation.
Acknowledging the difficult decision made by women who have had an abortion, O’Connor made it clear that those present stand with them. “To those mums who have chosen abortion we stand with you, we love you, we support you,” he stated.
He then challenged fathers who often pressure women into abortion “to love them and to love your child.”
“Support those women. Support your child. Stand with them,” he said.
Mr O’Connor asked the crowd to remember the babies lost to abortion, those who were “denied being part of the team of 5 million.”
Explaining why he is pro-life O’Connor said simply “I don’t like killing people” igniting the crowd who burst into loud applause.
Recognizing “that much death has been legislated” this year, he encouraged the crowd to accept that change begins with each of them. “Continue to be bold and strong as you are” he stated. “Have those conversations in your families with your friends and in your workplaces.”
“…In a few years’ time we will stand here not to lament, if you will, the laws that have passed, but to celebrate that life has once more returned to Aotearoa.”
Mother shares her testimony
Those gathered at Parliament were also addressed by Giselle, a young mum whose support network failed her when she found out she was pregnant. Her boyfriend, family, and medical staff all told her that abortion was her best option.
However, she chose to reach out to Gianna’s Choice Pregnancy Options and Support and was given all the encouragement and support she needed by the team, and especially Colleen, to give life to her son Noah. She explained that knowing she “was not alone,” helped her to make her choice for life.
Live Action Founder, Lila Rose, exhorts attendees to keep going until abortion is ended
A final message was given via video by Lila Rose, the founder and director of Live Action, an educational and activist pro-life group in the United States.
Rose gave those gathered three important tasks to continue with after the March for Life. Education, involvement, and prayer.
“The movement isn’t just today,” she stated. “The movement is throughout the year until we reach victory, which is the complete ending of abortion and the rebuilding of a culture of life.”
She asked people of faith to pray with her “that people across continents, people throughout societies, across nations can have a restored vision of humanity, of humanity made in God’s image and likeness. Of children as worth fighting for and precious. Children that should be protected instead of killed and of families as first, as important, as the building blocks of societies.”
Protestors present although peaceful interactions made them think
A small group of counter protestors did make their presence felt with volatile signs. However, many pro-life attendees quietly and peacefully held their own life-affirming signs with them, underscoring the stark contrast between the pro-abortion ideology and the loving position of pro-lifers.
The group followed the March for Life all the way to Parliament where they had booked lawn space.
Here, March attendees had an opportunity to positively interact with some of the protestors, who were generally young.
“Many of the women and young girls present are hurting” Dame Bayer lamented. “Their anger, their relentless chanting of slogans covers a deep wound.”
Mrs Bayer noted that the pro-life reaction must always be one of love. “We must listen to their stories,” she stated, “and we must always be willing to share the truth calmly, to quietly be a witness through our words and actions to the only One who can bring them healing, Jesus.”
National March for a Life a yearly event
This was the fourth National March for Life. It was begun by Family Life International NZ in 2017, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act, 1977.
Since then, a united front has been formed with Family First, Voice for Life, and Focus on the Family. The March is endorsed by a number of religious and pro-life groups throughout New Zealand.
The New Zealand March for Life joins a global movement of people standing up for the most vulnerable in their communities, and against abortion through peaceful marches.
Organisers are asking people to save the date now for the fifth National March for Life, which will be held on Saturday 4 December 2021.