Boarding the plane after three high-energy days from Washington DC to San Francisco on Friday, admittedly, I was exhausted. Vitae Foundation teammates had been traveling since Tuesday doing events, and the last leg of the mission was going to be the most challenging. We knew there would be major pushback at the Walk for Life West Coast.
Arriving in San Francisco, I could sense the environment would not be the same as DC. The people and culture are very different. The March for Life is so cold that many pro-abortion protestors don’t show up. (They must not be as passionate as we are for life.) That would be a different story in California.
I began my career in the pro-life movement as an activist, starting Mizzou Students for Life, so I love this part of my job. Working with a variety of other pro-life organizations and passionate pro-life people is what keeps me motivated.
At the Expo I spoke with hundreds of fired up people there to stand for life, sharing the mission and vision of Vitae. While I was handing out stickers and LIFE Fact cards, Vitae President Dr. Pat Castle and Vitae’s Research Analyst Dr. Jeff Pauls were interviewed on EWTN’s live coverage of the Walk for Life. Dr. Castle was able to share the research that 82 percent of women who aborted would have chosen life if just one person had encouraged them—just one. That’s why this pro-life work is so important.
We began the Walk for Life in the gorgeous California weather on Saturday. The beauty of the palm trees, architecture, and the pleasant breeze from the nearby shore are scenes that 57 million babies will never experience.
We walked among 60,000 other pro-life warriors, praying, chanting, or just soaking up the sight of so many people all coming together for the same cause. Another 4,000 Vitae stickers were handed out and soon appeared on backpacks, jackets, and signs.
I couldn’t help but get the shivers while thinking of the millions of innocent lives with every step I took—the innocent lives that would never be able to walk as I was doing. It was a privilege to represent our unborn Americans who lost their lives in the most horrific way.
Police were lined up on bikes beside us, keeping the protestors from coming into our crowd. The protestors were marching beside us, yelling and holding their orange “abortion on demand and without apology” banners. Every time I witness blatantly angry people protesting life, I know there is some sort of associated hurt there. There is a good chance these upset people are post-abortive or lost a sibling to abortion. Stop Patriarchy, a pro-abortion group, held signs that read: “Life begins when you stand up to Christian fascists.” “An egg is not a chicken; a fetus is not a baby.” “Forced motherhood is female enslavement.”
It broke my heart to see the children walk by these angry protestors. The look on their little faces as we heard people screaming against the protection for the most innocent was beyond disturbing.
As we walked by protestors at the end of the Walk, other groups were gathered. Hispanic groups were singing and dancing. The joy of so many people celebrating life overpowered the anger of the pro-abortion crowd.
Because Vitae Board Chairman Rob Rysavy was ill on Friday, Vitae President Dr. Pat Castle, co-founder and emcee of the Law of Life Summit, asked me to address the Summit on Vitae’s work with Pregnancy Help Centers. The audience was very receptive to our new strategies and was anxious to meet with me afterwards, eager for more information.
I wasn’t just walking for the millions of babies who lost or will lose their lives to abortion; I was walking for the women who lost their chance at motherhood. The slogan of the Walk for Life was “Abortion Hurts Women.” Abortion does hurt women, born and unborn. That’s why I walked, because women deserve better. And you know what? So does America.
(Reagan Nielsen was Vitae Foundation’s Online Marketing Coordinator.)