Pro-Life Advocates Come Out in Force for San Diego Walk for Life
By Denis Grasska
SAN DIEGO — Pro-life San Diegans had a hometown alternative to attending the annual March for Life in the nation’s capital.
An estimated 2,500 people took part in the second annual San Diego Walk for Life, which was held Jan. 18 in Balboa Park. The event took place four days before the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision that created a constitutional right to abortion.
The San Diego Walk for Life was an ecumenical event that opened and closed with prayer. This year’s theme was “Welcoming Everyone to This World.”
Many carried pro-life signs as they walked between one-quarter and three-quarters of a mile — routes of both lengths were available — near Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street.
After the walk, attendees enthusiastically listened to presentations by three speakers, heard a brief testimony from a young woman who experienced an unplanned pregnancy and placed her child up for adoption, and enjoyed a performance by singer/songwriter Mary James and her band.
Participants also had the opportunity to visit about 30 booths representing various pro-life and religious organizations.
As the event’s first speaker, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse began with an admission that the organization she founded and leads, The Ruth Institute, is “not a traditional pro-life organization.” Rather, she said, it is a “pro-marriage organization” whose motto is “One man, one woman, for life.”
Describing the life and marriage issues as really “one giant issue,” she said that pro-life and pro-marriage advocates are confronted by “a deadly ideology” that treats sex as “a sterile activity with babies thrown in as an afterthought” and that reduces babies to problems (if unwanted) and commodities (if desired).
She said that abortion is a byproduct of the prevailing contraceptive mentality.
“The only coherent alternative to this ideology,” Roback Morse said, “is the ancient Christian teaching that marriage, and babies, and sex all belong together, that marriage is the right place for sex and the right place for babies.
“You’ve got to admit that [it] would solve a lot of problems,” she continued, “if you only had sex with the person you were married to” and viewed every child as an “unrepeatable gift from God.”
Rev. Walter Hoye, a Baptist minister who was jailed in Oakland for his sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic, shared some of the reasons why he is pro-life.
As an African-American, many of his reasons centered on the damage that abortion has inflicted on the black community.
Rev. Hoye, founder and president of the Issues4Life Foundation and the California Civil Rights Foundation, cited statistics showing that the Ku Klux Klan lynched 3,446 African-Americans between 1882 and 1968. Then, to audible sounds of surprise from his audience, he revealed that more African-Americans die from abortion within a span of four days.
In New York City, he said, there are more than 2,600 abortions for every 1,000 live black births.
“We’re not even replacing ourselves anymore,” he lamented, as his wife stood beside him with a sign featuring the image of an African-American child and the words “Endangered Species.”
Saving for last the most personal reason for his pro-life convictions, Rev. Hoye shared the story of the premature birth of his firstborn son. When he held his 2.1-pound child in the palm of his right hand, he said, he felt God telling him that this baby — his son, so small and weak — belonged in its mother’s womb.
“Oh my goodness,” he said, “from that moment on ... I knew exactly what abortion is and what abortion does.”
By the grace of God, Rev. Hoye said, his son overcame the odds and lived. And by the grace of God, he added, the pro-life cause too will be triumphant.
“Let me tell you, San Diego,” he said, “I got good news for you: We’re winning, we’re winning, and by God’s grace, by God’s mercy, we too are going to overcome all the odds and we too are going to see [the] victory of life over death.”
Camille Cassin, executive director of Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center, told the crowd that she was speaking that morning on behalf of all pro-life pregnancy care centers and urged walk participants to support these centers in their life-saving work.
“Through the many ... free services that we offer, like pregnancy tests, and counseling, and ultrasound, we are the ones that are speaking the truth about the unborn to these women” in crisis pregnancies, she said, adding that crisis pregnancy centers are typically nonprofit organizations that are run by volunteers and depend on the pro-life community for donations of money, time and expertise.
During her remarks, Cassin also pointed out the mobile medical unit parked behind her on Laurel Street. Equipped to provide ultrasounds and other services, the mobile unit enables crisis pregnancy centers to reach women in the public places where they congregate.
“I commend you for being here today, but ... you’re not here by accident,” Cassin said. “You’re in this place, at this time, in this moment in history, to stand against the greatest injustice of our day, and that’s abortion.”
With the opening line of his presentation, Dr. George Delgado, medical director of Culture of Life Family Services (COLFS), voiced his optimism for the present and future of the pro-life movement: “We’ve come a long way, baby!”
He described Jan. 22, 1973 — the day the U.S. Supreme Court issued its rulings in the abortion cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton — as “perhaps the darkest day in the history of our great ‘one nation under God.’” Though he acknowledged that the United States has “lost its way” and “drifted away from God and ... the natural moral law,” he said the tide is now turning.
“We in the pro-life community, we have persevered,” he said. “We’ve not lost faith, we’ve kept up the fight, and now we’re finally seeing the fruits of that perseverance.”
Dr. Delgado noted that more than 50 percent of Americans now choose pro-life options when polled about their abortion views. He said the number of obstetricians who perform abortions is dropping and an increasing number of abortion clinics around the country have closed. Eighty-seven clinics closed last year alone, he said, and the total number has dropped from 2,176 in 1991 to 572 today.
Dr. Delgado also briefly discussed a process he pioneered that can reverse the effects of the abortion pill RU-486.
In closing, he noted that Christians are “called to love” everyone, including abortionists and pro-abortion politicians. But to love a person means to want the best for them, he said, and in the case of pro-abortion politicians that means voting them out of office.
“The victory of love is now within our grasp,” he said. “We owe it to these women, we owe it to the unborn children, we owe it to our country, we owe it to ourselves.”
The Southern Cross