The Walk for Life West Coast event on Saturday exceeded organizers' expectations by drawing a crowd of 40,000 people, a record-breaking figure.
Tens of thousands of pro-life activists filled Justin Herman Plaza in downtown San Francisco to participate in the 2.5-mile walk along the waterfront during the 7th annual Walk for Life West Coast. The Walk was held on the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.
"We are here to break the bondage of the culture of death," said Walk for Life co-chair Dolores Meehan to the crowd.
The walk route started at Justin Herman Plaza in downtown San Francisco and concluded at Marina Green in sight of the Golden Gate Bridge. The line of walkers stretched over a mile long. During the Preborn Jesus Holy Hour around noon, walkers prayed for the aborted babies.
Groups such as Silent No More, Priests for Life, Lutherans for Life, and Anglicans for Life joined in the walk to remember the unborn, share their testimonies, and pray for an end to abortion.
Participants heard from Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who left her job after watching an ultrasound-guided abortion. Johnson, now a pro-life activist, said she no longer honors choice when it comes to abortion.
"You are the new generation of the pro-life movement and I can tell you Planned Parenthood is shaking in their boots," said Johnson.
Men and women who aborted their babies also shared their stories.
"We must end this slaughter," proclaimed the Rev. Brian Walker.
Walker and his wife Denise aborted their child four months before their wedding. He said he was immature back then. Now the Walkers, both African-American, tell people that abortion is a disservice to the black community.
"We've lost close to 40 percent of our population to abortion," stressed Denise.
Across the country, President Barack Obama, a self-proclaimed advocate for choice, also acknowledged the anniversary of the controversial legal ruling in a statement.
"Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women's health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle, that government should not intrude on private family matters," he declared.
He tried to balance his statement by saying that he is committed to preventing unintended pregnancies, supporting pregnant women and mothers, encouraging healthy relationships, and promoting adoption.
But opponents of abortion say the practice is a false answer to the social issues of teen pregnancy, child neglect, and sexual abuse.
"For the past thirty-two years, abortion has been sold as a solution to societal problems women face. During that time, abortion advocates have pitted women against their children – forcing us into a no-win situation," said Sally Winn, vice president of Feminists for Life of America, in a statement.
She continued, "Abortion is not a solution but a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women deserve better."
The Walk for Life West Coast was founded in 2005 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area residents. According to the website, the walk's mission is to change the perceptions of a society that thinks abortion is the answer.
Last year, the Walk for Life West Coast drew more than 35,000 people.
The California pro-life walk comes two days ahead of the much larger March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Organizers of the D.C. event are expecting the crowd to exceed last year's count of 300,000 participants.