Every year since 2007, I have made it a priority to take part in the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. Even though I was in Washington last week for the March for Life, I would never think of missing the West Coast event.
Like the March for Life, the Walk for Life is a response to the tragedy unleashed in our nation by the legalization of abortion on January 22, 1973. It is an event “for life” that is not diluted by the idea that pro-life events should focus on a wide range of issues. Its sole reason for being is to protest the fact that the lives of children in the womb are no longer protected by law.
Each year, the crowd at the Walk for Life gets bigger, representing people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and religious and political affiliations. All are united in their commitment to defend the unborn and display that remarkable combination of sadness and joy. We are rightly distressed and grieve the ongoing loss of life by abortion; but we are filled with the joy our faith brings us that death has been conquered in Jesus Christ.
While the March for Life, because it is in D.C., is more policy-focused, with a larger number of elected officials speaking at the rally, the Walk for Life places a stronger emphasis on the indisputable fact that abortion hurts women, and that there needs to be a cultural change. Priests for Life is privileged to organize the gathering of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a joint project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life, at which those who have had abortions share their testimonies of pain and healing.
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Silent No More Awareness is one of the pro-life movement’s most powerful developments. The voices of moms, dads, and other relatives and friends who have been impacted by the abortion of a child and speak out about their pain and healing bring truth where there was deception, and hope where there was despair.
The experience of the Campaign has shown that when these testimonies are shared in churches, in the media, and in public rallies around the world, people are converted from support of abortion; pregnant moms find the strength to choose life, and those hurting from a past abortion are moved to seek the forgiveness and peace of which they have been deprived for years.
At the Walk for Life, the Silent No More event takes place at 10:45 am at the same plaza where people gather for the midday rally that starts the Walk.
Most of the very few counter-protesters who show up in D.C. gather at the Supreme Court because they know the power of the personal testimonies the Silent No More women and men will give. It’s a different scene in San Francisco, where many more counter-protesters turn out in the mistaken notion that they own the city of San Francisco. But they don’t.
Whether Walking for Life in San Francisco, Marching for Life in D.C., or taking part in smaller, similar events in towns, cities and villages everywhere in between, pro-life people understand that these activities have an effect both externally and internally.
Externally, these events show the world that advocates of the unborn are not going away and will not be silent until abortion ends. We have seen, for instance, legislators who have changed their minds about abortion because of seeing the Silent No More women march with their signs, “I Regret My Abortion.”
These events also have an impact “internally,” that is, on the pro-life participants themselves. We’re encouraged to know we are not alone; we have the opportunity to network and build relationships with other activists; and by expressing our convictions in a public way, those convictions are strengthened in our own minds and hearts, and we are ready to do even more pro-life activity throughout the year.
See you at the Walk for Life! For a more detailed schedule of my activities there, see www.PriestsForLife.org/MarchForLife.