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Tens of Thousands Rally at Walk for Life


Valerie Schmalz
Catholic San Francisco
February 9, 2016

"Tens of thousands of people rallied in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza and then walked down Market Street in the 12th Annual Walk for Life West Coast on Jan. 23, undaunted by intermittent rain, pro-abortion protesters who briefly disrupted one of the speakers or by traffic congestion due to the upcoming Super Bowl.

'They tell us the lie that women in order to have opportunities and in order for us be successful we must have abortion rights,' said Obianuju Ekeocha, Nigerian founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, at the rally. Culture of Life Africa's philosophy is consistent with St. John Paul II's 'theology of the body.' It rejects international aid tied to abortion, sterilization and other anti-life initiatives.

'I stand here before you not just as a black person or an African person. I stand here before you as a woman to say we should never have to buy success with the blood of our babies,' Ekeocha said.

David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, whose undercover videos recorded Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of parts of aborted babies, was the first speaker at the one-hour rally at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. The videos led Congress to vote to defund Planned Parenthood in January, and prompted Planned Parenthood to file a lawsuit Jan. 14 that charges the center, Daleiden and others with violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.

'The videos raise the biggest question that Planned Parenthood and their allies cannot answer,' Daleiden said. 'That is how on the one hand in our country the humanity of the baby fetus is not considered to be equal enough to our own in order to be totally protected by law. But at the same time it is precisely their equal and identical humanity to our own that makes them so valuable for sale.'

Several pro-abortion demonstrators, who were behind the stage, briefly interrupted Daleiden's speech. They ripped off their shirts to display an obscene slogan written in black ink, and threw flyers on the stage before being handcuffed by police. The Sisters of Life, whose founder Mother Agnes Donovan had just received the walk's St. Gianna Molla award for pro-life heroism, tried to shield one of the three bare-breasted women from the men in front of City Hall taking photographs 'and so they formed a rosary circle around her and were praying for her,' said Martha Garza, sister of Eva Muntean, walk co-chair. One of the Sisters of Life, who asked not to be named, said later, 'The heart hurts for them.'

The women were charged with infractions of the city Park Code for baring their chests and disturbing the peace under the state Penal Code and released from custody on Sunday, public information officer, Officer Albie Esparza said.

A counter demonstration of about 100 people was also along Market Street near the cable car turnaround, waving orange signs 'Abortion on demand without apology.'

At the Walk for Life Mass earlier at St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone referred to the videos and to California's new assisted suicide law saying, 'The big question is, what does this say about us as a society? How can we do this to ourselves?' The archbishop tied respect for the Eucharist and respect for life together and called upon pro-life supporters to be Jesus' 'light shining in the darkness.'

During the walk rally, Archbishop Cordileone imparted Pope Francis apostolic blessing, sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio. In part, the letter read, 'Pope Francis sends warm greetings and his assurance of his closeness in prayer to all taking part in the annual Walk for Life West Coast.'

Other speakers included Rev. Clenard Childress who has spoken at almost every walk, beginning with the first in 2005. The rally concluded with Emmanuel Jesús Emmanuel Arturo Acha Martínez a musical icon in the Latin world."

Find the original article on The Catholic Voice website.

Last Modified: February 11, 2016 06:32 PM
The Catholic Voice Catholic San Francisco

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