Nearly 20,000 pro-life advocates gathered Saturday in California to protest the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
The largest rally, the 19th annual Walk for Life in San Francisco, brought approximately 10,000 people together to call for protections for unborn babies and support for families in need, the Catholic News Agency reports. More than 5,000 pro-lifers also attended another march, OneLife LA on Saturday in Los Angeles, according to CNA.
“We are elated with the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade back in June but know that the fight to make abortion unthinkable is far from over,” said Eva Muntean, the director of the Walk for Life.
In California, abortion on demand is still legal and taxpayer-funded, and Muntean said part of their mission is to raise awareness about resources to help mothers and fathers choose life for their unborn babies.
“There are many resources for women considering abortion and thousands of people who want to help and support them,” she said. “We hope, at the Walk for Life, to be witnesses to this mission and show women that they do have support and that they don’t need to walk this journey alone.”
Ahead of the walk, many pro-life Catholics attended Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral with San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, a strong voice for life in the Catholic Church, according to the report.
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“While the now historic Dobbs decision is a great step forward in building a culture of life in our society, in another sense it adds new and even greater challenges, especially here in our own state of California, which promises to be a so-called ‘sanctuary state’ for abortion,” Cordileone said. “Surely there could be no greater oxymoron, for ‘sanctuary’ is about protecting human life and human rights, not taking them away!”
OSV News reports pro-lifers traveled to San Francisco from as far away as Oklahoma. Kevin and Monica Stephenson brought two of their children and 18 others from their Catholic church youth group from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
“After Roe, we decided to come and bring the prayer here where it was needed,” Kevin Stephenson said.
As often happens, a small group of abortion activists showed up to provoke the rally-goers.
Here’s more from the report:
About 200 gathered on the corner of Civic Center Plaza, jeering often obscene slogans and waving signs, as the crowd exited the rally site to begin the mile-plus walk. A half-mile away, at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, the sidewalk and even parts of the edifice were defaced with vile, threatening graffiti.
“They do not know what to do because they have realized for the first time in 49 years that they have to defend this barbaric surgery that is built on violence and you cannot defend it,” said Shawn Carney, co-founder, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life. He noted that across the U.S. pregnancy resource centers outnumber abortion providers 5 to 1. He said 36% of Planned Parenthood facilities have shut down in the past decade.
At the Los Angeles rally, pro-lifers listened to several speakers, including Jess Echeverry, a post-abortive mother who had been homeless and abused.
Echeverry told Catholic journalists that she found healing and forgiveness for what she did to her daughter through Rachel’s Vineyard and the Catholic Church. Now, she wants to “help ignite the church into action to help accompany those in need and to have a seat at the table when the homeless person is being spoken about and decisions are being made in regards to their marginalized lives.”
Speakers at the Walk for Life included Rebecca Kiessling, an attorney and pro-life advocate who was conceived in rape; the Rev. Clenard Childress, a pro-life advocate focused on the African American community; Shawn Carney, the president and co-founder of 40 Days for Life; and Angela Minter, president and co-founder of Sisters for Life.
On Friday, tens of thousands more pro-life advocates attended the national March for Life in Washington, D.C.
This year marked the 50th year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe and forced states to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions. In June, however, the high court reversed its infamous ruling and began allowing states to protect unborn babies’ lives again.
Research by NRLC puts the number of unborn babies lost to abortion under Roe at 64,443,118.