Contact: Stan Devereux, 916-825-0572; Steve Wharton, 916-612-5072; both for Walk for Life West Coast
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- Two days shy of the 34th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, more than 25,000 people walked the streets of San Francisco during Saturday's Third Annual Walk for Life West Coast. The event has rapidly become one of the fastest growing, most diverse Pro-Women /Pro-Life events in the nation and drew a larger than expected crowd of support in the home district of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"San Francisco is well-known for its counter-cultural protests - the Gay Pride Parade, anti-war protests, and anti-Bush protests," said Dolores Meehan, co-founder of Walk for Life West Coast. "We wanted to send a message that it's okay to be Pro-Woman and Pro-Life—even in the city of San Francisco."
The walk began with a rally at Justin Herman Plaza and proceeded along the San Francisco Waterfront to the Marina Green. Last year, 15,000 people attended the Walk for Life West Coast to celebrate women and to celebrate life. This year, organizers and law enforcement officials estimated that crowds were nearly double in size.
"The Walk for Life West Coast is a growing movement that is young, wonderful and vibrant," said Meehan, co-founder of Walk for Life West Coast. "Clearly, the pro-life movement is quite alive in California."
As in previous years, a number of well-known Pro-woman/Pro-Life advocates delivered remarks and participated in the 'walk.' Speakers included: Pastor Clenard Childress, Jr., Regional Director of the Life Education And Resource Network (LEARN); Carol Crossed, Democrats for Life; Vera Lord, Through the Looking Glass; Talitha Phillips, Silent No More Awareness Campaign; Alfredo Abarca, San Francisco Activist for Life and Family; and Father Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life.
"The value of life is not measured in days, months or years," said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. "The value of life is measured in love and the love parents have for their children. This is the civil rights movement."
"Our sisterhood is not a healthy one," said Vera Lord as she explained her own experience with aborting a child. "No matter what politically correct nickname we've given abortion, there comes a moment when we know what we have done. And, we need to grieve as part of the healing process. But, here's the irony, for those of us who have had abortions, our lives have never been the same. The dirty little secret behind what they call choice is that the baby isn't the only one who dies; part of our souls dies, too. We must make abortion not just illegal, but unthinkable."
Talitha Phillips of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign told her story of visiting a Planned Parenthood counselor. "She kept using the word choice, but was telling me I had no choice but to have an abortion. Abortion was not freeing, it was not liberating, it was devastating."
Pastor Clenard Childress, Jr., Regional Director of the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), said the baby aborted is "just like us, struggling and wanting to pursue the American dream of life, liberty and justice."
"I was very impressed by the number of young people who came today to show there is another culture in society which defends and appreciates life," said Alfredo Abarca, San Francisco Activist for Life and Family.
Despite the fact that Democrat political leadership has turned abortion into a partisan issue, Walk for Life organizers point out increasing numbers of Democrats are self-identifying as Pro-life on abortion.
"Pro-life Democrats won their elections last November," said Carol Crossed of Democrats for Life.
"Walk for Life's primary goal is to reach out to women and men of all political persuasions with the message that abortion hurts all women," said Eva Muntean Walk for Life co-founder. "Why San Francisco? We live here. This is our home."
It is also the congressional district represented by House Speaker Pelosi. Organizers of the Walk for Life West Coast requested a meeting this week with their member of Congress, a request that went ignored by Pelosi and her staff.
"Pelosi is the nation's highest-ranking woman ever elected in the history of the United States. Speaker Pelosi now has a greater responsibility to serve as a role model for all women in America, not just in San Francisco. She must no longer ignore Pro-Life women. Many of us share the same Catholic faith and we hope as Speaker, Pelosi will bring a broader perspective to women's' issues," Meehan said.
"We've all heard the argument for choice, but isn't time we started listening to the experiences of that choice? The purpose of the Walk for Life is to reach these men and women with a message of hope and healing," Meehan said.