Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mar 28, 2019 / 03:05 pm (CNA) – March for Life gatherings throughout Argentina on March 23 drew more than 2 million participants advocating legal protections for both women and their unborn children.

“We say ‘No to Abortion!’” said organizer Alejandro Geyer at a rally in the capital city of Buenos Aires.

According to the organizing committee, more than 300,000 people turned out in Buenos Aires, with more than 2 million total participating in 210 cities across the nation. Between 70 and 90 percent of Argentinians are estimated to be Catholic.

2018 was a significant year for the pro-life movement in the Latin American country. Last August, the Argentinian Senate rejected a bill to legalize first-trimester abortion. The 38-31 vote followed 16 hours of legislative debate.

The legislation, which had narrowly passed the House of Representatives earlier in the summer, sought to allow abortion on-demand up to 14 weeks gestation, and through the ninth month of pregnancy on the grounds of rape, if doctors deem the mother’s life or health to be endangered, or if the baby receives a diagnosis of non-viability.

It would have allowed minors under 16 to get an abortion without having to inform their parents, and would have prohibited conscientious objection by healthcare institutions.

The current law in Argentina prohibits abortion, except when the mother’s life or health is determined to be in danger, or in cases of rape.

Speakers at this year’s event expressed a desire to build on last year’s legislative victory, particularly by supporting pregnant women in difficult situations.

Geyer outlined the three main goals of the movement: “The right of everyone to be born; the right of families to educate their children without gender ideology; and the need to be aware that in our country, especially this election year, we determine the future of the homeland, of the family and of millions of unborn children.”

A group of veterans also spoke, stressing that the lives of both a woman and her child must be valued.

“Today we are here as soldiers to implore everyone to defend both lives, which is to save the homeland,” they said.

Prior to the march, the Pro-Life Unity organization said that the entire pro-life movement is demanding “the development of comprehensive public policies to assist women in vulnerable situations and the advancement and development of children at risk, without losing sight that this year half of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate is up for election.”

Speakers also denounced reports of three premature C-section deliveries being performed in the country without a valid medical reason, as a means of ending the pregnancies and skirting the law prohibiting abortion. The three babies died soon after, according to media reports.