SAN FRANCISCO: Anti-abortion banners along the route of a planned city walk have been opposed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
According to a report in yesterday's Chronicle, supervisor, David Campos introduced a resolution that would put the board on record as opposing the banners, which San Francisco Mayor, Ed Lee had previously refused to have taken down.
The banners read 'Abortion hurts women'.
Fifty posters carrying the slogan were erected in preparation for the 10th Annual Walk for Life, West Coast, which will take place in the city on January 25. They line the route along San Francisco's main thoroughfare, Market Street.
The banners have provoked a lot of debate regarding a woman's right to an abortion and also whether the walk itself should take place.
On December 31 the Chronicle reported:
"The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women wrote a letter to Mayor Ed Lee, saying the banners contain 'a false and hateful statement'. They demanded they be removed".
Ellen Shaffer, director of the Silver Ribbon Campaign said she considered the banners 'hate speech against women'. However, Mayor Lee rejected Ms. Shaffer's demand.
But now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has decided to further stir the argument.
Yesterday's San Francisco 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".
Yesterday a resolution was introduced by Supervisor David Campos that indicated that the board would be opposing the banners message.
The Department of Public Works, which issued permits for the banners say they do 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 what he described as "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 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 that the city supervisors have meddled with the Walk for Life West Coast.
In 2005, in response to the inaugural walk, the supervisors issued resolution #050019, which declared January 22, 2005 as 'Stand Up For Choice Day', and thus supported demonstrations by the local pro-choice community in San Francisco, which in practice, meant supporting those who attempted to block the Walk for Life West Coast from taking place
Despite the lack of support by the board of supervisors, the Walk for Life West Coast has grown every year, from 7,500 participants in 2005 to an estimated 50,000 last year.
"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," said Walk co-chair, Eva Muntean.
Miss Muntean said opponents were seeking to censor the group's message 'Abortion Hurts Women,' not because it is false but because it is true.
She said she hopes San Franciscans will atend the rally and Walk, and especially the Silent No More Awareness Campaign at 10:45 AM in Civic Center Plaza. This event will showcase real-life stories from post-abortive women.
"Just listen to them and judge for yourselves if what you are hearing is 'hate speech,'" Muntean said.
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.
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