UPDATE: More fallout from the "Walk for Life" event. Details in this IgnatiusInsight.com article by Valerie Schmalz.
A "Walk for Life West Coast" press release:
THOUSANDS THRONG SAN FRANCISCO WATERFRONT IN WALK FOR LIFE WALK FOR LIFE/WEST COAST MARKS ROE V. WADE 32nd ANNIVERSARY
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 22, 2005 | Energized by speakers who proclaimed the right of women and all people to be free of abortion, nearly eight thousand people walked along San Francisco’s waterfront in support of women and of life today.
“Pro-life feminists demand that society support the unique life-giving capacity of women so that no woman feels that she has no choice other than abortion,” proclaimed Feminists for Life of America Vice President Sally Winn, to a Walk for Life West Coast rally gathered at Justin Herman Plaza.
“Abortion Hurts Women” proclaimed the banner that young women held as they walked in front of a densely packed procession of women, children and men that stretched for more than half a mile. The walkers were led by the Walk for Life/West Coast speakers, San Francisco Archbishop William Levada and an honor guard of women students from U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of San Francisco, among others.
The rally and walk were held in the face of virulent opposition from the city’s elected officials, after the San Francisco board of supervisors condemned the Walk in a resolution and a news release issued in conjunction with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice California. “The anti-choice minority might be emboldened by the climate in Washington, D.C. but they are not welcome here!” said statements issued by a coalition of abortion-rights groups. However, the Walk was organized by a group of San Francisco women. More than 1,000 abortion-rights counter protestors lined the Walk route and chanted and shouted at the Walk participants.
Rev. Clenard Childress, an African-American leader of Life Education and Resource Network, chided the board of supervisors and called upon the walkers to continue the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.
“This parallels the same language of the people who were supporters of the Jim Crow laws,” Childress said in response to the S.F. board of supervisors’ resolution saying the Walk was unwelcome in the city. “It is that same spirit of oppression which has mutated and has now hit children in the womb.” (Visit www.blackgenocide.org.)
“We are standing here for those who are denied the dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Childress told walkers, as counter demonstrators chanted beyond the rally.
Georgette Forney, president of Silent No More Awareness Campaign, told the crowd she had an abortion and regretted it. Standing with women who held signs saying “We Regret Our Abortion,” Forney said: “We want the truth to be heard in San Francisco. We want women and men to know help is available if you are hurting from your abortion.
“The San Francisco board of supervisors should be ashamed of themselves for proclaiming this a pro-choice city. If the supervisors really cared about women they would provide pregnancy centers and provide real choices for women. Our experience is abortion is not good for women. Abortion hurts women!” Forney said.
Carol Crossed, president of Democrats of Life, said, “We Democrats need to return to our roots and protect the vulnerable--and that includes the most vulnerable, pregnant women and their children.”
“We are proud and happy our fellow San Franciscans and Californians-and all supporters of women and of life-we hope we’ve touched some lives,” said Walk organizer Eva Muntean. Watch www.walkforlifewc.com for plans for the 2006 Walk for Life/West Coast.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a lengthy article, with photos, of the event available here.