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San Francisco Catholic Politician Urges Abortion
Rights Counter Protest
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
It is one of the ironies of San Francisco.
Catholic women who attend the same San Francisco church are lined up on
opposite sides over the Walk
for Life West Coast. A prominent and rising local politico leads the
city board of supervisors in condemning the Walk. At the same time, members
of her churchs young adult club are key organizers of the pro-life
feminist event with its signature motto: "WOMEN DESERVE BETTER®
Michela Alioto-Pier co-sponsored a January 11th resolution
declaring San Francisco "Pro-Choice and Proud" and in a posting
on the city government website urged abortion supporters to turn out for
a counter demonstration sponsored by California NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
"I am urging all women to come to the rally to stand up for choice,"
Alioto-Pier said in a statement on the official San Francisco government
site. A call to her office for comment was not returned to IgnatiusInsight.com.
She attends St. Dominic Church, as does Walk co-chair Dolores Meehan and
some other organizers.
A San Francisco Catholic Archdiocesan official said the Board of Supervisors
press release "almost invites people to be hostile."
"The press release I saw is so filled with false information and frankly
kind of provocative in that it almost invites people to be hostile and that
bothered me," George Wesolek, director of the Archdiocesan Office of
Public Policy and Social Concerns, said. "Because San Francisco has
a reputation for being a city with tolerance for all points of view but
they are certainly not showing tolerance here."
The Board of Supervisors news release says: "Anti-choice demonstrators
plan to descend upon San Francisco to protest womens health and rights
with a so-called walk for life. Anti-choice hardliners plan
to demonstrate against comprehensive, medically accurate sex education,
birth control services, and the right to choose. Anti-choice marchers include
radical groups such as Operation Rescue, which have a history of violence
and harassment of medical clinics."
Walk for Life West Coasts goal is to communicate compassion to women
harmed by abortion, Walk organizer Meehan said.
"We are here for women. This Walk is not about politicsit is
about reaching out to women to let them know we are here for them,"
said Meehan. Sex education and birth control arent part of the Walk
message, and Operation Rescue is not a sponsor of this event, Meehan said.
"It is too bad the Board of Supervisors does not respect the right
of all city residents and all citizens of this country to peaceably congregate
and speak," Meehan said.
Three Bay Area Catholic bishops will help lead the Walk, as well as speakers
Life of America Vice President Sally Winn, Georgette Forney, chair of
More Awareness Campaign for women who have had abortions, and Rev. Clenard
Childress of L.E.A.R.N. (Life Education and Resource Network), and Black
Genocide. Elias and Adela Ochoa of the Santa Rosa, CA, Cursillio Movement
will speak in the Spanish about the effect of abortion on Hispanics.
"We refuse to choose between women and children. Like Susan B. Anthony,
we must systematically eliminate the root causes that drive women to abortion,"
Winn said. Forney, who had an abortion in high school, will speak about
societys wish to cover up the pain of abortion. Childress, an African
American Baptist minister, will speak about the cost to African Americans,
"all are victims of pro-choice America," he says.
The other co-sponsor, Supervisor
Tom Ammiano, in the same January 11th news release, declared: "The
anti-choice climate in our nations capitol has emboldened the minority
of anti-choice Americans to a point where they think they can come to our
fair city and demonstrate against basic human rights."
On the CARAL site there
is this exhortation: "Anti-choice extremists plan to march in San Francisco
against women's health and rights on the anniversary of the landmark Supreme
Court decision establishing the constitutional right to reproductive freedom.
We must show them that their anti-choice, anti-woman agenda is NOT welcome
in the pro-choice city of San Francisco!"
Meehan: "The irony of CARALs battle cry is that the organizers
of this event are San Franciscans. I am a fourth-generation San Franciscan.
The anti-choice extremist, anti-woman slur always makes me laugh when used
by organizations, like CARAL and Planned Parenthood, who only advocate for
the option of abortion. I would have to argue that they are the anti-choice
extremists because they will stop at nothing to prevent our pro-woman, pro-life
message from reaching women. Shame on them they have betrayed the
womens rights movement."
© 2004 Feminists for Life of America, All Rights Reserved. Women Deserve Better is a registered
trademark of Feminists for Life of America.
Valerie Schmalz is a writer for IgnatiusInsight.
She worked as a reporter and editor for The Associated Press, and in print
and broadcast media for ten years. She holds a BA in Government from University
of San Francisco and a Master of Science from the School of Foreign Service
at Georgetown University. She is the former director of Birthright of San
Francisco. Valerie and her wonderful husband have four children. She will
be a participant in the Walk for Life West Coast.
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