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  Editorial | January 28, 2005
Catholic San Francisco

By Maurice Healy

Thanks to the repugnant rhetoric of city officials and the boorish behavior of several hundred pro-abortion activists, San Francisco went a long way on Jan. 22 to solidify its reputation as one of the most intolerant cities in the nation.

When two San Francisco Catholic women, Dolores Meehan and Eve Muntean, voiced their plan to have a “Walk for Life – West Coast” to mark the 32nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, San Francisco’s pro-abortion establishment reacted with fear and loathing.
Planned Parenthood, National Abortion Rights Action League and others in the abortion industry went to work with local politicians. On Jan 11, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution declaring the city to be a “pro-choice” zone – effectively disenfranchising those citizens of San Francisco who are opposed to abortion on demand.

In declaring “Stand Up for Choice Day” — in reaction to plans for Walk for Life West Coast — San Francisco Supervisors sent a bellicose message to pro-choice activists and a call for aggressive action. Local Supervisors, who like to think of themselves as liberal and progressive, called for a reactionary and intolerant response. In the process, San Francisco’s elected officials raised their voices against freedom of speech and right of assembly.

Despite the Supervisors’ innate message of “Don’t come, don’t speak, don’t march,” a peaceful Walk for Life – West Coast rally at Justin Herman Plaza featured noted women and movements calling for better treatment for women. At noon, the pro-life throng of 7,000 people – young, old, and many families with children —began a procession along the Embarcadero to Marina Green. As the praying, singing and smiling pro-life people began their route, they were met with loud insults and vile invective thrown at them by pro-abortion zealots. Many insults were specifically anti-Catholic.

What was the object of their hatred? The Walk for Life participants who quietly and purposefully walked behind a banner that simply said, “Abortion hurts Women.” The pro-choice activists were enraged to see thousands of people proceeding under a sea of posters with the simple message, “Women deserve better than abortion.” More information is available at www.walkforlifewc.com.

The stage for aggressive behavior by those protesting the Walk for Life was set at a pro-abortion rally of about 3,000 people held earlier that morning at Market and Powell. San Francisco elected officials came close to inciting mayhem in their harsh rhetoric condemning the Walk for Life participants.

About 1,000 pro-abortion zealots, the most angry and hostile remnant of the earlier rally, took up positions along the Embarcadero and waited for the Walk for Life marchers. The worst of these actors shouted obscenities and vile insults, some with the aid of loud speakers. While many pro-choice demonstrators lining the route were content to shout derisive opposition, their muted behavior, by comparison, was overwhelmed by the hate-filled antagonism of several hundred rabid activists.

San Francisco officials had tried to villainize the pro-life group as “outsiders.” This is an epithet that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. easily would have recognized. When King participated in marches for civil rights in various U.S. cities, he often experienced the same kind of insults that were thrown at the participants in the Walk for Life. Worse still, the angry shouts of pro-abortion activists, telling the marchers to “Go back to the Central Valley,” were thinly veiled racist attacks on Hispanic Americans.

Hundreds of San Francisco Police Officers provided a cordon between the Walk for Life march and pro-abortion protestors positioned on the side of the roadway. Yet, pro-abortion activists defied police and several times tried to block the route of the Walk for Life procession. Near Pier 39, the long line of pro-life marchers was delayed. At Fisherman’s Wharf, the protestors blocked the route, but a pre-arranged detour allowed the Walk for Life procession to continue to Marina Green. There, the peaceful participants in the first ever Walk for Life West Coast joined in a humble prayer of thanksgiving.

Reprinted with kind permission of Catholic San Francisco .


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