San Diego Walk for Life History
The San Diego Walk for Life began in 2013 and has been held annually to the present time. Each Walk occurs on or near the January 22, 1973 anniversary date of the US Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v Wade Decision that “found” in our US Constitution a mother’s “right” to have an unborn’s life living in her womb terminated (ultimately at any time – for any reason – through the 9th month of gestation).
From its beginning, the San Diego Walk for Life was inspired by Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), Saint John Paul II, and the vibrant pro-life community that had been established in the early 1970s and has flourished since that time. One of the founders said that the initial planning committee was, “a harmonic converging of a dedicated number of true feminist women and men passionately supportive of every human being’s right to life from the moment of conception to natural death.”
The initial Walk Committee was organized and spearheaded by local San Diego Catholic pro-life activists, Mary Moran and Hugh Largey, and enthusiastically supported by San Diego County pro-life service organizations, local Christian communities, and the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.
Rev. Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church, rallied the first crowd by reminding them that they are “on the right side of everything that’s decent, and pure, and wholesome, and healthy, and good, and natural, and supernatural, and holy.”
Nicolas McAfee observed “It’s such a beautiful day for a walk in the park. There are so many people for an inaugural one. I think it’s fantastic and I’m sure it’ll grow from here.” Melinda Collins added that the turnout showed that “there is a huge population in San Diego that considers the pro-life issue to be one worth coming out for.”
Kent Peters, Director of the Diocesan Office for Social Ministry at that time, said it was “satisfying” to see so many people – especially young people and families with small children – in “such a joyful, celebratory setting.” “A lot of people imagine this commemoration of the Roe v. Wade anniversary would take the form of an angry protest,” he said. “But this was a celebration of solutions to unplanned pregnancies – and very achievable, satisfying solutions.”
Since the inaugural walk in Balboa Park, the tradition continues with “compelling and very positive” speeches by an assortment of pro-life speakers and an extensive number of pro-life exhibitors (pregnancy care centers, adoption agencies, pro-life ministries, Catholic apologetics, media organizations, and, most recently, organizations with connections to Down syndrome).
Note: Gratitude is owed to Hugh Largey, Kent Peters, and Denis Grasska for providing information for this condensed narrative and apologies are extended to anyone whose contributions were not feasible to include.