Yesterday's Walk For Life West Coast was a great success. Somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people showed up to testify to the value of life and the need to protect the unborn.
At the opening rally, Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco gave the opening blessing, followed by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life , and the spirited Pastor Clenard H. Childress, Jr., director of LEARN/BlackGenocide.org. The crowd included broadcasters from EWTN (incl. Fr. Francis Mary) and Immaculate Heart Radio, a contingent of Sisters of Life flown out for the occasion, Fr. Joseph Fessio of Ave Maria University and Ignatius Press, other bishops, priests, and sisters, and many families with children. Most inspiring was the large number of high-school and college age youth. I saw groups from Berkeley Students for Life, Stanford Students for Life, Thomas Aquinas College, Cal Poly Pomona, and more.
The counterprotesters were a sparse and pathetic lot. Far fewer than previous years, they mouthed their tired slogans, insults and obscenities, while their attempts to shock by cross-dressing in nuns' habits only looked silly. Many yelled anti-war and anti-George Bush rhetoric, seemly missing that this was not a Republican rally. Predictably, the press tried to inflate the pro-death protester numbers and frame the story as "dueling rallies". In reality, I doubt there were more than 100-200 total counterprotesters.
Now it's on to Washington DC for the 34th Annual March for Life tomorrow!