SF Columnist Begs People not to Attend Walk For Life
Says No Minds Change–Walk Speakers Beg to Differ

On January 17, in an article titled “Better to ignore abortion protesters than join them,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius virtually begged people not to come out in opposition to Saturday’s Walk for Life West Coast. Mr. Nevius argued that such opposition is useless: “When the walk concludes Saturday, you can bet that no one will have changed his or her position…”

That contention would seem to be wishful thinking on Mr. Nevius’ part. The pro-life movement in general, and the Walk for Life West Coast in particular, are filled with people, once deeply supportive of abortion, who have experienced a change of heart and mind. Examples include Ms. Abby Johnson, former abortion clinic director for Planned Parenthood and author of Unplanned. Ms. Johnson was the keynote speaker at the 2011 Walk for Life West Coast. She directly attributes her change of heart and mind to the presence of the 40 Days For Life vigil at the Bryan, TX abortion business where she worked. Perhaps an even more striking example is Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a co-founder of NARAL, who later stated regretfully, “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.” But Dr. Nathanson, too, experienced a change of heart and mind and became one of America’s most powerful pro-life advocates. And of course there is Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, who is now an outspoken opponent of abortion.

This year one of the keynote speakers at the Walk for Life West Coast will be Dr. Vansen Wong. Dr. Wong’s credentials are impressive: Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco’s Medical School. Like Dr. Nathanson, like Abby Johnson, Dr. Wong was an abortion provider. And, like the others he has had a change of heart and mind: “I believe that abortion has erased the value of human life,” said Dr. Wong. “We have created language, philosophy and institutions that legitimize ending the lives of unborn babies without reflection on what we are doing… Where will the killing stop?” Now he speaks at rallies for Berkeley Students For Life, speaks at rallies for 40 Days For Life, and, if Mr. Nevius has the courage to come out this Saturday, he will hear him speak at the rally for San Francisco’s Eighth Annual Walk for Life.

It cannot be denied, however, that Mr. Nevius is half-right: similar changes of heart and mind have not turned people from the pro-life side to the pro-abortion side. The exceptions, significantly enough, appear to be mainly among politicians, a group not noted for their fidelity to principle: Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson in the 1970’s, Al Gore in the 1980’s. As Fr. Aris Metrakos, who will give the invocation at the Walk, has said, legal abortion “…exposes the duplicity and opportunism of the majority of the political class.”

So Mr. Nevius is probably right to warn abortion supporters away, just as abortion supporters are probably right to try and avoid looking at sonograms—because, when faced with the reality of abortion, changes of heart and mind go in only one direction.