Abortion Opponents Walk for Life In San Francisco
An estimated 50,000 people participated in the annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco on Saturday. Among the participants were six representatives from the recently formed University of Southern California Students for Life, an organization focusing on issues such as abortion and capital punishment.
The walk is one of a series of yearly marches nationwide, including the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Each year, more than 500,000 gather to march on the capital in support of the pro-life movement, and thousands more turn out at additional national locations.
“The march just didn’t seem to end,” observed Ronnie LaGro, a first-year student earning his master’s degree in Social Work who attended the Walk for Life West Coasst. “Even when we stopped for fifteen minutes to wait for friends, the sea of people just kept coming and coming. It was awesome for those of us from USC to be surrounded by so many loving people willing to take a stand defending our first inalienable right to life.”
The San Francisco march came days after the 40th anniversary of the landmark abortion-legalizing court case Roe v. Wade. The anniversary reignited discussion from individuals on both sides of the issue. For those involved in the pro-life movement, it is a discussion hoped to result in a decision different than that of Roe v. Wade.
“Fifty-five million American children have been killed by abortion since Roe v. Wade 40 years ago. It is one-third of my generation (4 million annual births in U.S.). Can you imagine how much great potential there was in each of those children that will never be realized?” speculated Lisa Ebiner Gavit, president of USC Students for Life. “Abortion, at its core, is a social justice issue. It is a life and death issue in the most literal sense. The acceptance and promotion of abortion is fostering the continual devaluation of human life. Our goal is that one day society will come to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being.”
“Our ultimate goal is the best outcome for both the mother and the child…in every pregnancy, whether a crisis or a plan. We want to help and love someone so much they don’t ever feel the need to have an abortion,” added LaGro.
Marchers also had the opportunity to listen to speakers and take part in a rally at the San Francisco Civic Center before beginning their two-mile trek. Among the orators was a woman who Gavit found “especially inspiring,” as she spoke to the audience about her two past abortions and the healing process she has undergone since those decisions.
“An entire portion of the pro-life movement is dedicated to helping women who have had abortions (and men who have been affected by abortion) find healing and love and forgiveness. Her story was a beautiful testimony to how it is never too late to change your life around for the better.”
Events such as the Walk for Life West Coast and March for Life in D.C. also allow an opportunity for solidarity within the movement for life – especially among collegiate students, who compose many of the participants.
“There is such a resistance to pro-life views on most college campuses and USC is no different. We don’t always feel or see support for our work,” Gavit commented. “So it was incredibly inspiring to partake in this event where we were surrounded by tens of thousands of people, most our age, all standing up for life.”
However, LaGro notes that the moment of solidarity is coupled with a strong sense of empathy: “It makes me think, how can I do more to support someone who feels they can’t deal with this all on their own?”
A sophomore majoring in philosophy and founder of USC’s pro-life organization, Gavit realizes that struggles for pro-life students don’t only include opposition on the issue, but a misrepresentation of their proposals.
“Too often being pro-life is equated to being anti-woman. Not only is this statement absurdly false, but it represents a tragic mindset,” Gavit said. “Those who support abortion fail to think about the 1,800 girls killed in the womb every day by abortion. They fail to realize that over 50% of women are coerced into abortions and say that if just one person had encouraged them to choose life, they would have done so. The organization Feminists for Life has as its motto, ‘Abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women.’ I agree. Women in crisis pregnancies do not need someone from the abortion industry encouraging them to abort. Rather, they need to hear the truth about the humanity of their child. They need to hear that they are valuable, that their child is valuable, that they are supported, and that carrying a baby to term is not the end of the world.”
While such students may plan to continue working for eventual adjustment, many feel that participation in such large demonstrations demands change more imminently.
“As much as we would love to come back with even more folks next year, we sincerely hope that the action of so many Americans will challenge our policy makers to take a fresh look at protecting the lives of our future citizens,” LaGro stated. “You truly cannot put a value on human life. It is worth defending at all costs.”