San Francisco, Calif., Jan 26, 2010 / 05:49 am (CNA).- Denouncing abortion as “the greatest human rights abuse,” over 35,000 pro-life activists gathered for the Walk for Life West Coast on Friday. Among the banner-waving participants were toddlers, grandparents and college students. Their walk proceeded along the San Francisco waterfront and was the largest crowd in the six years of the march, organizers reported.
Students from area high schools and from Stanford, UC-Berkeley, St. Thomas Aquinas College and Wyoming Catholic College took part in the march, as did eight Catholic bishops.
A reported 120 Catholic seminarians carried banners. One seminarian, Tom Martin, said it was a “great opportunity” for people to see seminarians joining with them in praying for life and also “taking a stand.”
Frank Lee of Asian Americans Pro-Life opened the rally with a prayer.
"Every life is precious and should be cherished,” he said. “We have a tough battle in front of us, but we shall overcome when we combine our efforts to make it a perfect whole!"
Lila Rose of Live Action was among the speakers at the event.
"The fact that we have allowed abortion in this great nation, the killing of the most defenseless and weak among us has resulted in the greatest human rights abuse I believe our nation has ever seen,” Rose commented. “It is up to us to stand, raise our voices, and protect the smallest."
Another speaker, Abby Johnson, was a former Texas Planned Parenthood director who walked away from her job after assisting in abortion.
"If you are here, you are an activist,” Johnson told the crowd. “We can no longer just say the words but must put our words into action."
Evangelical pastor Jim Garlow of San Diego said that now was the time to “seize the moment” in the interest of unborn babies. Rev. Clenard Childress, founder of BlackGenocide.org, said there is now an “obvious shift” in the culture resulting from “advances in the pro-life movement.”
The Walk for Life West Coast presented the St. Gianna Molla Award to David Bereit, the national campaign director of 40 Days for Life.
Dolores Meehan, the Walk’s co-founder, praised its participants.
“The tenacity of pro-lifers, showing up in their tens of thousands, despite a downpour, is a testimony to their commitment!” she commented.
The Walk says it was founded in 2005 to affirm the right to life from conception to natural death and to change hearts hurt by the violence of abortion.