By DEXTER DUGGAN SAN FRANCISCO — The reelection of the most grimly aggressive pro-abortion president in U.S. history last November didn’t seem to dampen spirits a bit here at California’s largest annual pro-life event, nor at countless other growing January rallies and marches across the nation, including the massive March for Life in Washington,D.C.With an estimated 50,000 to60,000 people packing San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza on January 26, in front of the blue-andgold- domed City Hall, the turnout for the ninth Walk for Life West Coast was enough to populate a town or two.
“We were kind of wounded last November, but the killing muststop,” Rev. Clenard Childress told the rally here, referring to proabortion Barack Obama’s re-election.
Childress is founder of Blackgenocide. org, a web site that calls attention to abortionists targeting black babies.
“You have to send a message to this administration, ‘We will not stand down, we will not stand down, we will not stand down’,” he said.
“Remember that God does His best work when there’s a pharaoh in the land,” Childress said, reminding listeners that God has defeated ruthless persecutions to demonstrate His power of delivering the oppressed. “. . . I’m excited about the next few years.”
The national March for Life, the premiere annual event mourning the U.S. Supreme Court’s invention of a “right” to permissive abortion in 1973, this year drew crowds estimated at more than a half-million. That’s enough to populate an entire pro-life city. However, many other people welcome having events closer to home instead of making a transcontinental trip. Walk for Life West Coast was started to meet some of this demand in 2005. To the south in California, San Diego began its own annual Walk for Life on January 19, attended by an estimated 3,000 people.
After listening to San Francisco speakers for exactly an hour this year, the crush of pro-lifers took more than 50 minutes to squeeze out of Civic Center Plaza for a nearly two-mile march down the city’s Market Street thoroughfare, passing the financial district, to the Ferry Building on San Francisco Bay.
Police were stationed along the way to provide any needed assistance.
The hour of talks began promptly at 12: 30 p. m. Marchers still were arriving at the Ferry Building at around 3: 30 p. m.
Childress, the Blackgenocide .org founder, has returned frequently to speak at the San Francisco event since it began.
“ I will not betray the unborn,” Childress told the January 26 rally. “. . . Silence is betrayal. I will not be silent. You will not be silent.”
Before his speech, Childress toldThe Wanderer, “ The debate on abortion has been censored simply because the other side knows it has no defense. . . . The truth is on our side.”
Another rally speaker aware of racial discrimination was Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized at age 14 in 1968 after a decision by the state of North Carolina’s Eugenics Board, judging her as “ feebleminded.”
Riddick has given a number of media interviews about this intrusion into her life by an earlier generation of putatively well- meaning social elitists.
Recalling that the government had taken away her future of having children, Riddick placed herself with pro- lifers at the rally: “God said, ‘Thou shalt not kill’. . . . If you abort a baby, that’s murder. . . .
“ Planned Parenthood, they’re not God. [ The late Planned Parenthood founder] Margaret Sanger isn’t God,” Riddick said.
Before the rally, Riddick told
The Wanderer that she didn’t find out until age 19 that she had been sterilized when the eugenicists decided she wouldn’t be able to care for herself or others — although she went on to get a college degree.
The rally opened with a prayer by new San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who introduced Pope Benedict XVI’s personal representative to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the apostolic nuncio.
Cordileone said the nuncio attended the previous day’s March for Life in the nation’s capital then flew across the continent to deliver the pope’s greetings here as well.
Viganò told the crowd he believes “ that you are the best of the United States of America.”
Recalling the more than 50 million infants aborted in the U. S. since 1973, Viganò said this is the equivalent of “ exterminat[ ing]” the population of Italy, France, or Spain.
The Vatican is known to be interested in the example set by different faith groups in the U. S. uniting in the pro- life movement.
Although the weather forecast two days before the northern California gathering was for overcast skies with a 20% chance of rain, the clouds blew away by breakfast time on January 26, followed by blazing blue clear skies throughout the day, with temperatures in the 50s.
Other events occurred around the area in conjunction with the walk, including a 9: 30 a. m. Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, with 11 Catholic bishops present, a few blocks from Civic Center Plaza. The liturgy concludedat 11 a. m. Preaching the homily to an estimated 3,500 people packing the cathedral, Cordileone said in his prepared remarks: “ We cannot claim to be a peace- loving nation all the while attacking innocent human life and abandoning those who need support to respect that life. There is a word for that in the English language: hypocrisy.”
While pro- lifers regard the Supreme Court’s imposition of national permissive abortion exactly 40 years earlier to be a tragedy, Cordileone said, there is “ the very fact of the very many cultural and political elite who — dare I use the word? — celebratethis earth- shattering decision” while receiving accolades from the popular culture for doing so.
“ Through prayer, penance, sacrifice, and service,” Cordileone said, “ we attain the spiritual agility necessary to respond to the challenges of our time, and to find the fertile ground in the hearts of our fellow citizens and there plant the seeds of God’s Kingdom. That is to say, in the end, the Gospel of Life will be effectively proclaimed only through lives of holiness.”
Taking a different perspective, several representatives of the “ Secular Pro- Life” organization attended the Walk for Life West Coast, with one of them writing at the group’s blog: “ The organizers of the walk explained they wanted to demonstrate that even in one of the most left- wing areas of the country, there is a strong pro- life presence. It’s a brilliant idea. I know people from around the country that travel to Washington, D. C., for the March for Life, but for many pro- lifers such a long distance isn’t feasible.
“ Now we are growing a West Coast counterpart that has increased in attendance every year — in 2005 they estimated 7,000 attendees, and this year they estimated over 50,000! I’m grateful to the thousands upon thousands of pro- lifers who converge to strengthen our voice, and I’m grateful for the chance to stand among our religious counterparts and represent the secular viewpoint,” the blogger wrote.
This blog site explains: “ You don’t have to be religious to understand that abortion kills a human being.”
Media bias was what one has learned to expect but still be disappointedin. The dominant northern California newspaper, the liberal San Francisco Chronicle, put its coverage of the January 26 walk back on Page C- 12, behind two pages of weather maps and statistics, and four pages of obituaries.
The newspaper had one small, two- column picture of two pro- lifers’ faces along with portions of four other people’s heads. The photo was shot from slightly below, preventing additional heads from showing up in the background.
This was worse than the
Chronicle’s photo choice depicting last year’s walk, which was published on Page C- 3 on January 22, 2012. That small, twocolumn photo at least showed more people, with its caption saying “ thousands” attended.
At least this year the Chronicle also published a story, but treated a small pro- abortion demonstration against the pro- lifers as of equal weight.
Under the page- wide headline, “ 40 years later, both sides on abortion remain at odds,” the January 27 Chronicle story began, “ Abortion activists on each side of the issue converged on San Francisco Saturday, creating parallel universes testifying to what 40 years of reproductive rights have wrought.”
The story said “ 1,000 or so pro- choice activists” turned up — a number far exceeding reality — while the pro- life size “ was in the tens of thousands.” A small photo showed two pro- abortion-ists, one of them yelling through a megaphone in front of an orange and black sign, “ Abortion on demand & without apology.”
Dolores Meehan, one of the cofounders of the West Coastwalk, told The Wanderer in a statement: “ I was not surprised that the
Chronicle chose to ignore the amazing sight of Market Street filled sidewalk to sidewalk from Civic Center Plaza almost to the Ferry Building, peacefully walking for life. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be in the interest of the editorial staff to show families, youth, clergy, and people of all ages and races joyfully and peacefully standing for victims of abortion — women and the unborn alike.”
Meehan said the Chronicle’scensoring the walk’s message “ has not had an effect on its increasing size. I’d say that conservatively we had 50,000 to 60,000 this year. If they are interested in any of our [ photos], we’d be happy to share them.”
“ I’mShocked” Eva Muntean, the other founder of the walk, said in a statement that news reports attempting to equate the January 26 pro- life and pro- abortion demonstrations are “ like giving equal time to kids playing a pickup game and the Super Bowl, just because they’re both football games.”
Muntean said, “ We got some decent coverage from our local ABC affiliate. They indicated that the walk this year was the biggest ever, and that the other side had about 300 people.”
She added that media like the
Chronicle negatively affect other people’s lives by failing to let them know what’s going on in the city.
Readers may begin to wonder what other events these media aren’t keeping them adequately informed about.
“ We saw a post yesterday on an online message board from a man who was complaining about being stuck in traffic because of the walk. He said he had not known about the walk, and that he was ‘ shocked’ at the number of people in attendance, and that he was stuck in traffic for two hours,” Muntean said.
“ Well, why didn’t he know?. . . Every year the Walk for Life West Coast is here. We are one of the largest annual events in San Francisco. And every year we hear the same thing — ‘ I’m shocked,’ ‘ I ran into this absolutely enormous anti- abortion march,’ ‘ I never heard of this!’ — those are actual quotes,” she said. “ They don’t know and they are shocked because the media is not doing its job.”
Meehan, the other walk cofounder, added, “ You can avoid the truth, but you can’t avoid the traffic!”
Also speaking at the rally was Lacey Buchanan, the Tennessee mother who made a video that went viral last year about her love for her son Christian, who was born in 2011 without eyes and with a cleft lip and palate.
Buchanan said she decided to make the video after a woman said she was selfish for letting him live instead of having an abortion.
“ Now Christian is happy, healthy. . . . He loves life. His smile is infectious,” she said.
She said she’s pregnant with a second son now, Chandler, but “ I can’t imagine life without [ Christian]. . . . I’m blessed to have Christian.”
Kelly and Matt Clinger spoke as a couple who went through two abortions in a short time period, but turned their lives around by turning to God and now have two born children.
She was a backup singer for Britney Spears but decided she’dnever reveal her abortions. However, when something started to feel wrong after the second abortion, Kelly said, she went to a doctor who examined her then said, “ I found hands and feet inside your body.”
Kelly said that in a post- abortion healing program, she named the aborted baby girls Goodness and Mercy.
“ For Goodness and Mercy, until abortion is ended, I will be silent no more,” she said.
Students From Thomas Aquinas
More than 200 students from the academically rigorous Thomas Aquinas College down the coast in Santa Paula, Calif., spent their weekend attending the rally. For two nights they slept on the gym floor at San Francisco’s Saints Peter and Paul Parish in the North Beach neighborhood.
They all wore hoodies lettered in commemoration of a member of their Class of 2014, Andrew “Kent” Moore, who was struck and killed by a vehicle last summer while on a pro- life walk across the U.S.
Moore had faithfully prayed outside abortion facilities, eventhough he was “ a very shy guy who didn’t like to put himself out there,” The Wanderer was told.
The Wanderer talked with four of the Thomas Aquinas students who all were born well after the Supreme Court abortion diktat of 1973 but who have no intention of passively accepting that ruling, although pro- abortionists 40 years ago were confident Americans would.
The students were Rebecca Bessette, 20, Zack Reynolds, 21, Sarah Dufresne, 20, and Kristin Personius, 24.
When The Wanderer mentioned that the January 25 USA Todayhad just said that the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion only “ in the first trimester,” Reynolds shook his head and said, “ I think that has to be willful ignorance,” to keep making such a serious error 40 years after the ruling.
That would about be like a U. S. newspaper in 1905 being unsure of how the Civil War ended 40 years earlier, in 1865.
Another civil war is with us now, but the outcome is as certain to be on the side of truth and justice as Abraham Lincoln’s effort for the oppressed was.
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