SAN FRANCISCO -- On the eve of today's 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal, an estimated 50,000 activists marched along Market Street calling for its end.
Among those participating in the Walk for Life West Coast were some 500 to 600 walkers from the Modesto area, including Bishop Stephen Blaire.
The Stockton Catholic Diocese sent 25 to 30 buses to the event, including five from St. Joseph's and three from St. Stanislaus in Modesto, three from Sacred Heart in Turlock and one from Sacred Heart in Patterson.
Saturday's event included testimonials and prayers before throngs of well-wrapped worshipers. Participants gathered at the San Francisco Civic Center for speakers, an information fair and rally, then headed out for the two-mile walk in crisp sunshine, ending at Justin Herman Plaza.
Some skirmishes accompanied a small opposition rally, but otherwise police reported no problems with the large crowd.
The day started at 5 a.m. for the Nunez family, who helped set up coffee and doughnuts at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Modesto for those going to the walk. Buses boarded at 7 a.m..
Sulu Nunez said the day was uplifting but tiring, especially for her 3-year-old, the youngest of her four children. Most moving, she said, were hours of testimonials by women who have had abortions and shared their experiences.
"I think it was eye- opening for most people," Nunez said. A veteran of local and regional walks, she's heard many of the same stories at previous walks.
"I think every time, even if it's the same, it touches you differently, feeling the sadness in their decision. I feel thankful I never had to experience it," she said.