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CURRENT ISSUE:  February 7, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Parishes plan activites for Black History Month
Q&A with parishoner dedicating life to God
Walk for Life draws a youthful crowd

For the first time, the Walk for Life included a youth rally at the end of the walk.
josé luis aguire photo

A crowd estimated at more than 40,000 people converged under a banner declaring, “Abortion Hurts Women,” on Jan. 22 in San Francisco for the seventh annual Walk for Life West Coast.

“We were super proud of the young people,” co-founder Eva Muntean said after the event. “That’s our greatest joy. We saw more than ever before.”

Latest figures show
abortion rate, numbers
remaining steady

WASHINGTON — After declining steadily for the past quarter-century from a high of 29.3 in 1981, the U.S. abortion rate increased slightly in 2008, according to the latest Guttmacher Institute survey of abortion providers.

The survey, released in mid-January, estimated that 1.21 million abortions were performed in the United States in 2008 for an abortion rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The abortion rate was 19.4 in 2005 and 19.5 in 2007, according to Guttmacher. The number of abortions performed has remained relatively stable at about 1.2 million abortions a year for each of the past five years, but more abortions were performed in nonhospital settings and more were chemical rather than surgical abortions, involving use of the abortion pill mifepristone, also known as RU-486, or methotrexate.

The full report on “Abortion Incidence and Services in the United States, 2008” was published online and will appear in the March issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, noted that the Guttmacher study showed a continued decline in the abortion rate among teens ages 15 to 17 but said it was because of “the delayed onset of sexual activity, not more contraception.”

Sharon Camp, president and CEO of Guttmacher, said the survey results show that “we need to do more to increase access to contraceptive services to prevent unintended pregnancy, while ensuring access to abortion services for the women who still need them.”

— Catholic News Service
For the first time, the event included a youth rally at the end of the walk.

The rally began with Walk for Life co-founder Dolores Meehan telling the crowd: “We are here to break the chains of bondage of the culture of death.”

The walk was held on the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Speakers at the 11 a.m. rally at Justin Herman Plaza preceding the walk included Abby Johnson, a former Texas Planned Parenthood clinic director who chronicled her journey from one side of the issue to the other; Brian and Denise Walker of Minnesota, who told their personal story of abortion and its effect not only on their marriage, but on the African-American community; Mary Poirier of Prayerbreaks ministry, who spoke of abortion and healing; and Kathleen Eaton, who, after her own abortion, founded Birth Choice Health Clinics in Orange County.

Among the West Coast clergy in attendance was Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland.

As groups filed out of Justin Herman Plaza, banners were hoisted aloft and groups of walkers with small children, some with musical instruments and many young people carrying original posters began the 2.5-mile walk along the Embarcadero under clear skies.

Among the groups from the Diocese of Oakland, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood was well-represented with about 250 to 300 parishioners, who traveled by bus, BART and car to gather at the event.

Linda and Deacon John Kortuem, part of a strong contingent from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood.
Courtesy Christine Schreck
“Pro-life is talked about constantly at our church,” said parishioner Linda Kortuem, who walked with her husband, Deacon John Kortuem. The parish has more than 5,000 registered members.

The parish filled three buses, and a fourth bus was filled by the Couples for Christ group.

The parish’s active pro-life committee coordinates the buses, makes announcements in the church bulletin and handles the sign-ups.

Linda Kortuem said about 40 percent of the group from the parish were young people. “They were so excited there were so many people under 30 there,” she said.

“It gives them strength in their faith.”

Pro-life activity at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish is not just a once-a-year activity. The parish actively supports the work of Birthright of Brentwood. The parish’s Knights of Columbus have been conducting a “baby bottle” campaign. Parishioners pick up a bottle outside of church, take it home and fill it up with contributions, and return it. And, often, take home another empty bottle, Linda Kortuem said. The money collected benefits Birthright of Brentwood.

The group from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish began the day with 8 a.m. Mass at the parish before boarding buses or otherwise leaving for San Francisco. They returned in time to attend 5 p.m. Mass together.

More than 40,000 people, many with banners, others with musical instruments, joined in the 2.5-mile Walk for Life in San Francisco.
josé luis aguire photo

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