Yesterday, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, joined by six of his colleagues, introduced a resolution officially opposing the Walk for Life West Coast's "Abortion Hurts Women" banners that are currently flying on Market Street in preparation for the January 25, 2014 Walk for Life West Coast. Among other things, the Supervisor complained that the banners appear on lamp posts that "display holiday snowflakes." Well, there's a hanging offense!
You can read the San Francisco Chronicle article (which treats the resolution with the seriousness it deserves) on the resolution here, and the Walk for Life West Coast's response is below.
SF Supervisor Issues Resolution Opposing Walk for Life West Coast Banners
Concerned 'Abortion Hurts Women' Signs Interfere with 'Snowflakes'
On January 25, 2014 the 10th Annual Walk for Life West Coast will be held in San Francisco. In preparation, the Walk has placed 50 banners along Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, and the route of the Walk. The banners, hung with city approval, proclaim the Walk’s message “Abortion Hurts Women.”
The banners have certainly worked. The December 31 San Francisco Chronicle reported: “The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women wrote a letter to Mayor Ed Lee this week saying the banners contain ‘a false and hateful statement’ and demanded they be removed. Ellen Shaffer, director of the Silver Ribbon Campaign, said she considers the banners hate speech against women….” The Mayor rejected Ms. Shaffer’s “demand,” but now the SF Board of Supervisors has decided to get involved.
The January 14, 2014 Chronicle reported: "Mayor Ed Lee may be staying out of the brouhaha over a series of anti-abortion banners on this liberal city’s main thoroughfare, but the Board of Supervisors isn’t. On Tuesday, Supervisor David Campos introduced a resolution that would put the board on record opposing the banners, which read ‘Abortion hurts women’ and were put up last month in anticipation of a January 25 antiabortion rally.”
The Department of Public Works, which issue permits for banners on Market Street does not judge content, only whether the banners show profanity or nudity. The six clauses from the resolution which the Chronicle reproduced were all about content, although Supervisor Campos was also on record as concerned that the banners were posted on “…lamp posts that also display holiday snowflakes.” The Chronicle article concluded “While the resolution may have many San Franciscans nodding in agreement, it’s seems unlikely that city has any legal right to refuse to post something simply because politicians don’t like the message...."
Dolores Meehan co-chair of the Walk, and a fourth-generation San Franciscan, said “I’m practically speechless. Interfering with snowflakes. They’re so deficient in any sort of statesmanship, it’s actually expected. They’re ridiculous.”
It’s not the first time the Supervisors have meddled with the Walk for Life West Coast. On January 11, 2005, in response to the first Walk for Life West Coast, the Supes issued resolution #050019, which declared “January 22, 2005 as ‘Stand Up For Choice Day.’” The resolution also supported “…the local Pro-Choice community demonstrating in San Francisco,” which, in practice, meant supporting those who attempted to block the Walk for Life West Coast from taking place. On December 11, 2012 the Supes issued resolution #121172, declaring January 26, 2013 to be a celebration of the Roe v. Wade decision, and again expressed support for a rally opposing the Walk. Since the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is actually on January 22, and January 26 happened to be the date of the city’s Ninth Annual Walk for Life West Coast, the resolution seemed targeted more at the Walk than a commemoration of Roe v. Wade.
Despite the Supervisors hostility, the Walk for Life West Coast has grown every year, from 7,500 participants in 2005 to an estimated 50,000 in 2013.
Walk co-chair Eva Muntean said "We are delighted with the publicity our banners have generated. We urge all people of good will to join us on January 25 as we march in defense of the littlest among us. Our opponents seek to censor our message ‘Abortion Hurts Women,’ not because it is false but because it is true. We invite San Franciscans to attend the rally and Walk, and especially to attend the Silent No More Awareness Campaign at 10:45 AM in Civic Center Plaza, where post-abortive women share their stories. Just listen to them and judge for yourselves if what you are hearing is ‘hate speech.’”
The 10th Annual Walk for Life West Coast is on Saturday, January 25 at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. The Rally begins at 12:30 PM, followed by the Walk at 1:30.
For more information, visit: http://www.walkforlifewc.com/