Hundreds of Hemet San Jacinto residents joined with thousands across the nation Saturday, Jan. 20, in a “Walk for Life,” calling attention to the thousands of babies never born because of abortions across the nation.
To the hundreds that gathered from more than 20 Christian churches across the Valley, every child, from conception to birth, is precious and God’s gift that should never be killed through abortions. The two-mile march from Hemet’s Gibbel Park on Florida Avenue to the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Sanderson Avenue bought many horn honks from motorists and cheers from pedestrians.
White crosses, carried by many in the group, children and adults, men and women, were meant to represent and remember a baby killed by abortion. The crosses were planted in the ground alongside three thousand other crosses in the church’s “Cemetery of the Innocent.”
It was a special time for newlyweds Josiah and Olivia who carried their tiny baby girl Marissa on the two-mile “Walk for Life.” With little Marissa wrapped in a blanket close to her heart, Olivia said with a smile that babies “are very rewarding, they always make you smile.”
Her simple message to mothers who are thinking about an abortion: “Even with the struggles, babies are always worth it,” Olivia said, placing her hand around Marissa’s little pink sock-covered foot and checking to be sure the infant was warm enough, while dad Josiah pulled his daughter’s blanket up over her chin. A tapping sound, as the other marchers pounded their crosses into the ground, was heard behind the little family.
The nationwide “Walk for Life,” began 45 years ago as a growing number of men and women who have joined the anti-abortion movement., shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision on Roe v. Wade and legalizing abortion The walks, which are held near Jan. 22 each year, are meant to help change the perception of the pro-choice society. The anti-abortion movement believes that abortion does violence to women and to their children both physically and emotionally.
Patty Smith is a regional coordinator for “Silent No More,” a anti-abortion organization; leader for “Rachel’s Hope;” a anti-abortion author and speaker at the Washington D.C. Walk for Life rally. She said the 3,000 crosses that were erected at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church are a “visual of the devastation of abortion.”
She told the Hemet and San Jacinto walkers that she suffered through two abortions herself before becoming a representative for the anti-abortion community. She said her heart is always broken remembering the lives of the thousands of babies killed by abortions each year.
“Nobody told me that abortion leads to depression,” Smith said, recalling the many years she suffered with the thought of taking her own babies’ lives through abortion. Her depression led to promiscuity and alcoholism until she began to speak out about the tragedy of abortion.
She said that many people do not realize that studies show that one in every four women have had at least one abortion. She urged those mothers who have had an abortion or who are thinking about having one to contact groups like “Silent No More” and “Rachel’s Hope” to find healing, abortion recovery and counseling.
“You can find forgiveness,” Smith said.
Ann Walsh from the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, who helped coordinate Saturday’s local Walk for Life rally, said the display of crosses was meant “to confront our community with the reality of abortion. That it is legal in the United States up to birth. And that every day 3,000 babies die by abortion. We have got to face that, and we have to end abortion,” Walsh said.
She said Congress has two bills currently coming before them, one that would consider a fetus living at the sound of the first heartbeat and the other that babies as fetuses are capable of feeling pain, that people need to be aware of these bill, noting that “if a enough people gather publicly, then politicians notice; they notice numbers, so here we are and want to be noticed and heard on this subject.”
Speaking before the crowd was San Jacinto City Councilman Scott Miller, who said he was a politician, but strongly opposed to abortion. He said to the marchers, “They won’t drown out our voice; they won’t stop us and we will continue to stand strong for the rights of the unborn.”
Leading the prayer for the marchers was the Rev. Randy Jones from the Valle Vista Assembly of God Church. Offering encouragement and prayers to the walkers throughout the march were the Rev. Lou Caster from Prince of Peace church and priests from area Catholic churches, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, St. Josephs’ Catholic Church, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Queen of Angels. Also, ministers from the Hemet Presbyterian Church, the 412 Church and others attended.