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Adelaide: Walk for Life 2024

On Saturday, 10 February 2024, the organisation known as “Love Adelaide” organised its fifth annual “Walk for Life” rally, aimed at protesting against the scourge of abortion.

Held again in its customary setting of Pennington Gardens (in front of Adelaide Oval), up to 5,000 people attended the event in what was one of the biggest attendance in its five-year history. Among the attendees were a number of prominent pro-life public figures and government representatives – among whom was the Archiepiscopal Vicar for the Archdiocesan District of Adelaide, His Grace Bishop Silouan of Sinope, who represented His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia. A number of Federal, State and local politicians were present at the event, including Senator Alex Antic (Lib), Claire Scriven MLC (Labor), Nicola Centofanti MLC (Lib), Dennis Hood MLC (Lib), Heidi Girolamo MLC (Lib), Laura Henderson MLC (Lib) and Frank Pangallo MLC (SA Best). Apologies were also received from the Premier Peter Malinauskas (Labor), Opposition Leader David Speirs (Lib), Sarah Game MLC (One Nation), Ben Hood MP (Lib) and Tom Koutsantonis (Labor).

The walk was preceded by a number of guest speakers. The crowd heard about the efforts of pro-life organisations in other parts of the world, and in particular the effort to expand Love Adelaide to become Love Australia and bring the Walk for Life into our other major capital cities – the first of which was Sydney, which had its successful inaugural walk in 2023.

Of particular note among the presentations was a rousing speech by Professor Joanna Howe (Professor of Law at the University of Adelaide), who was prominent in the cause for Life during the 2021 debate that saw the introduction of SA’s current abortion laws. During the 2021 debate, pro-life opponents of the bill pointed out that amendments would allow babies of 23 weeks’ gestation or more to be aborted, even when the baby is healthy and the mother’s life is not at risk.

This was important because babies of this age have a significant chance of surviving outside of the womb (the so-called “age of viability”). Pro-abortion proponents of the Bill (in particular the spearhead, then-Attorney-General Vickie Chapman) explicitly denied that this would happen, and as a result an amendment to the Bill to explicitly make it illegal was narrowly defeated. However, Professor Howe has been following the latest official data, which covers the first six months after the introduction of the new laws. She has found that it happened no fewer than eight times in that period. As a result of this recent revelation, Professor Howe has started a campaign to try and have the South Australian parliament to revisit this part of the law and provide additional protections. Her petition is found here:

Following the speeches, as in previous years, the amazing sound of a fetal heartbeat was heard playing live over the event’s PA system – an inspiring and concrete reminder of what it is that the Walkers were fighting for. Thereafter came the commencement of the walk itself – following its traditional route up King William Road, in front of Parliament House, and back across the Adelaide Oval footbridge to return to Pennington Gardens. The highly-professional SA Police were again involved in partially closing King William Road and North Terrace (perhaps the busiest intersection in the CBD).

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia’s District of Adelaide has been prominent in the battle against South Australia’s abortion laws in SA and can proudly claim to have made a significant contribution to the fact that SA’s abortion laws are currently among the “least worst” in Australia (including a provision that insists that children who are born alive as the result of an attempted abortion must be cared for).

The Archdiocese has also been a proud supporter of the Walk for Life since its inception in 2020, providing material and logistical support as well has having consistently strong turnouts from our clergy and faithful. This year, for the first time, the Archdiocese (through its Central Philoptochos) also contributed its food van – selling food and drinks for the participants and discounted food for the event’s volunteers. This was a significant contribution towards the festive, family-friendly atmosphere of the event that was much appreciated by event organisers and participants alike – and perhaps a precursor of bigger things to come in future years.