Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Community & Society
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Published on January 19, 2024
San Francisco Braces for Walk for Life Event Amid Weather Concerns and Transit DisruptionsSource: Sharon Hahn Darlin, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The streets of San Francisco are gearing up for a busy Saturday as anti-abortion activists take to Market Street for their 20th Annual Walk for Life West Coast, undeterred by weather forecasts that suggest it might be a wet affair, according to SFist. Despite a prediction of intermittent rain, those joining the walk remain hopeful for clear skies, recalling a past event where, despite the threat of thunderstorms, not a drop of rain fell after collective prayers. The SFist reports that the participants this year are instructed to maintain a "peaceful and prayerful attitude," and thus, graphic protest imagery has been discouraged.

On the logistical side of the event, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has detailed multiple street closures and Muni reroutes affecting the area from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., during the Walk for Life events, those planning to confront the marchers should expect their words to fall on ears pretending they're not listening, as participants have been advised to ignore any counter-protestors present. The Walk for Life website indicates marchers will kick off the day with an "info faire" at Civic Center Plaza at 11 a.m., leading into a rally at 12:30 p.m., followed by the march itself at 1:30 p.m., the organizers are also focusing on the element of 'joy,' with pro-life face painting and free books for attendees, adding a family-friendly dimension to the day's events.

According to the SFMTA website, major street closures include Market Street between 9th and Steuart, and there will also be significant impacts on public transportation routes. Civic Center Plaza can still be accessed via the Market Street Subway, with the SFMTA recommending the use of light rail vehicles, or BART trains which can be boarded from any Yellow, Red, Green or Blue line that exits at Civic Center Station, with disruptions planned much in advance, allowing for the anticipated increase in foot traffic and counter-protests.

The march comes at a time when the anti-abortion debate has been reignited following the fall of Roe v. Wade, as noted by House Speaker Mike Johnson at a recent rally in Washington D.C.—quoted by SFist—proclaiming “our work is not done.” These words echo the sentiments driving the San Francisco event, with people coming forward in the name of what they believe, a beacon of hope for some, while others brace for the continuing clash of ideologies on the city’s rainy streets.