The ninth annual Walk for Life West Coast rally in San Francisco CA filled Civic Center Plaza, from which participants made their way from City Hall to the Ferry Building two miles away. According to organizers, more than to 50,000 participated. Pope Benedict XVI commended the "outstanding public witness to the fundamental human right to life" represented by the march. Participants heard the Pope’s message delivered by his delegate in front of San Francisco's City Hall on January 26.
Papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano delivered a message from the pope along with his papal blessing. Pope Benedict's message said, "His Holiness is grateful to all those who take part in this outstanding public witness to the fundamental human right to life and to the moral imperative of upholding the inviolable dignity of each member of our human family, especially the smallest and the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters."
"You are a powerful witness that God's truth cannot be silenced," added San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. “Yes, we are here to stay because life is good and life is holy."
The speakers at the Walk included Lacey Buchanan, the mother of a disabled child; Elaine Riddick, who was forcibly sterilized by the state of North Carolina at age 14; Kelly and Matthew Clinger who regret their abortions; and the Rev. Clenard Childress, Jr., who has spoken at nearly every San Francisco walk since its founding in 2005. "Truth is rising up and you are the picture of that truth," said Rev. Childress to loud cheers. "We will not draw back until every child is free."
A large video display showing a graphic video of aborted children was set up by an anti-abortion group along the walk route, despite efforts by the walk’s officials to convince the group to desist.
Abortion and contraception advocates were also evident on January 26 in the city some wags know as ‘Babylon by the Bay.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that the dance moves that highlighted Occupy San Francisco last year were repeated this time in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court. SFBG noted, “the same choreographers behind that flash mob for economic justice plan to reignite the public square, this time with a flash mob organized in collaboration with the Silver Ribbon Campaign to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade.” Several hundred dancers, mostly women, participated.
Among those on hand were Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student who was reviled by radio personality Rush Limbaugh after opining before a Congressional hearing on the need for free contraception, as well as San Francisco Supervisors Malia Cohen, David Campos, David Chiu and Eric Mar.