Thousands of pro-lifers gathered in liberal San Francisco on Saturday for the 17th annual Walk for Life.
The event mourned the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Since 1973, more than 62 million unborn babies have been aborted in America.
The Catholic News Service reports organizers were surprised to see thousands of people show up this year because of the coronavirus.
“I guess by now I should know better than to sell the commitment of pro-lifers short. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong!” Walk for Life co-chair Eva Muntean said.
Autumn Lindsey, a spokesperson for Students for Life of America, told the local news that San Francisco needs to hear pro-life voices speaking for the unborn.
“If we’re in a city that’s so aggressively pro-choice, more than ever we need a pro-life voice to bring that counter message,” she said.
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Pro-life Republicans and Democrats, Christians and atheists marched together at the event. Terrisa Bukovinac of Democrats for Life of America said she believes that progressive values must include human rights for unborn babies.
“I believe in the progressive values of equality, non-violence and non-discrimination. None of those are compatible with abortion,” she told KPIX News 5.
Organizers canceled the rally this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Rev. Clenard Childress Jr. did speak to people from the bed of a pick-up truck as they marched by, according to CNS.
“There has never been a more important Walk for Life West Coast! This is a time of faith,” Childress said. “That is why you are here right now. You did not come here because of circumstances. You are here because of justice!”
The crowd was smaller than other years, but no counter-protesters showed up, according to KPIX.
Organizers thanked the San Francisco Police Department for keeping pro-lifers safe. Abortion activists frequently counter-protest the event. In 2016, police arrested several abortion activists who tried to disrupt the march by screaming and taking off their shirts, revealing obscenities painted on their bare chests.
Prior to the Walk for Life, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone led a pro-life Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Space inside the cathedral was limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, and CNS noted that some people participated from outside the building.
Cordileone recently drew national attention for publicly criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a pro-abortion Democrat who represents San Francisco, after she said it caused her “great grief as a Catholic” that so many people voted for President Donald Trump.
In a statement last week, Cordileone said Pelosi does not speak for the Catholic Church, and her abortion advocacy contradicts one of its most fundamental teachings.
“Christians have always understood that the commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill,’ applies to all life, including life in the womb,” the archbishop said.
The national March for Life in Washington, D.C. is scheduled for Friday. Organizers canceled the in-person event earlier this month due to concerns about the coronavirus and political unrest in the capital. However, a virtual rally is scheduled to mark 48 years of legalized abortion and to call for restored protections for babies in the womb.