Małgorzata Cichoń talks with Jakub Bałtroszewicz from the Executive and Civilian Committee of the European Initiative ‘One of us’

The First European Pro-Life Congress will be held on 15–16 November 2013 in Cracow. It will be attended by leaders of the European Civic Initiative ‘One of us’ from EU countries. It will be an occasion to sum up the previous activity and also to undertake particular preparations for public hearing in front of the European Commission. During the Congress European Federation will be established which will continue work for promotion and defence of the Christian vision of the man on the international level

MAŁGORZATA CICHOŃ: - Nearly 1 million 800 thousand votes supporting the European Initiative ‘One of us’ were collected, which opposes to experiments on human embryos and financing abortion from our money. However, you say that it is only the beginning of the fight…

JAKUB BARTŁOSZEWICZ: - The initiative ended successfully, as it concerns collecting votes. But we are only at the beginning of a road whose purpose is amendment the law in the European Union.

– Even 20 countries achieved the essential minimum per 7 necessary ones…

– On 1 November, on the last day of collecting signatures, Ireland joined these twenty countries. It is a great testimony for the European Commission, showing a range of support for our initiative in Europe. There would be more collected votes, if we had not been initiating bureaucratic paths, and we had to learn ‘devices’ which is the initiative. Surely, with this experience, which we have today, it would have been much easier! From the beginning we were sure that we would be successful. We knew that we had potential – people in Europe do not agree on having their money spent on killing the unborn.

– Many people are afraid of what might happen again at the forum of the European Commission, what we could see in the Polish Parliament recently –it concerns the civic project about eugenic abortion…

– In a sense this project is a success because Poland is the only country in Europe in which there are discussions about restriction of abortion acts, not about their liberalization. Although Mrs. Kaja Godek was treated by some Polish parliamentarians as she was, she did really well in the Sejm. She was presenting her arguments in a substantial and serious way in order to eliminate the eugenic idea from the Polish Act. And because it did not happen according to the law, because parliamentarians had ignored the will of 450 thousand citizens who had signed this project, which is a different matter. Whereas, it is a success of pro-life activists because ‘a drop hollows out a rock’, and actions which we take cause a situation when the problem of killing the unborn babies is a continuous subject of a public debate which has a great educational value. People who did not know or did not understand what abortion is and they find out about it. Therefore every year we see more and more social opposition to abortion and more support for life defence.

– You invited experts to the First European Congress of Pro-life Movements, who will help you get prepared for presenting the Initiative at the forum of the European Parliament. Who are the people?

– They are experts of various fields, from law to medicine, coming from a few countries of Europe – from Romania, Croatia, Italy, France , Spain. To our request, coordination of experts’ panels was undertaken by Fr. prof. Piotr Mazurkiewicz from the Papal Council for Family. Experts elaborate issues which will help us get prepared professionally for public hearing, which we are going to have next spring.

– Why was Cracow chosen for a place of this historic event?

– The choice was obvious – absolutely because of blessed John Paul II and his heritage! Everyone in Europe is aware how much the Holy Father did for life defence. Arrival of people at Cracow from whole European Union is even somehow a ‘reward’ of their work for the sake of the initiative because most of them have not been to Cracow before. Showing them round the city, which was so dear to the Holy Father, as well as places connected with Him, is a kind of a form of thanking by Poles for everything which composed the success of the initiative ‘One of us’ in whole Europe.

– You are going to visit also Warsaw and Auschwitz…

– Auschwitz is a place showing what lack of respect for the human life results in. Once somebody said that those who forget history are doomed to experiencing it again. We must remember about such places.

– Did anyone show his particular support for the organization of the Congress?

– We can say so about three subjects which engaged in it in an excellent way. In the first place there are Columbus’ Knights, who, perceiving the potential of the international cooperation, supported us significantly and thanks to it, they are also co-organizers of the meeting.
Also the archdiocese of Cracow and cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz supported the Congress. Priest Cardinal showed his great friendliness and hospitality, inviting participants for the Holy Mass which he is going to celebrate for us in the private chapel of the Bishops’ Palace in Cracow, where Karol Wojtyła was ordained a priest. Although many participants belong to different Churches, all of them will surely come to see Cardinal for their great respect to blessed John Paul II.
The third subject, also the financial one, were Polish Pro-life organizations, especially, the Polish Associations of Human Life Defenders with the engineer Antoni Zięba as their leader and the Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements with the chairman Paweł Wosicki from Poznań. If it not had been for these people, the organization of the Congress would be more difficult.

– What else can readers of ‘Niedziela’ do for the Initiative ‘One of us’, beside signing it, promoting it and speaking about it?

– We ask for further friendly attention to the issue. We will try to inform people about other steps of our actions. When the European Commission decides - which we hope it will – to direct the Initiative towards the voting of the European Parliament, then action of many people will undoubtedly be considered, who will write to Euro-deputies, expecting that they will side with life defence.


"Niedziela" 46/2013

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