On Saturday, April 12, a small group of pro-abortion demonstrators staged an Abortion Rights Emergency Action in front of San Francisco’s iconic Saints Peter and Paul Church. The demonstration was an effort by StopPatriarchy in four cities. According to the group’s website, the demonstrations were motivated by the number of pro-life laws passed at the state level in the years 2011-2013: “Two hundred and three abortion restrictions were passed on the state level; that’s more restrictions passed than in the entire preceding decade.” While billed as “anti-abortion/anti-pornography,” StopPatriarchy is a front group/offshoot of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA. Each page on the stoppatriarchy.org website contains this sentence and link: “Read ongoing coverage & revolutionary analysis of this movement at revcom.us.” Revcom.us is the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Prior to the event the website was filled with publicity for the upcoming protests, and on April 11 the website streamed a preparatory conference by Stop Patriarchy speakers directly from New York’s Advent Lutheran Church.
In addition to Saints Peter and Paul in San Francisco, other targets were: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, the Swedish Hospital and the Catholic chancery in Seattle, and the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. The group’s website offered their rationale for targeting Saints Peter and Paul: “Saints Peter and Paul Church was the home parish for the anti-abortion Walk for Life 2014. This church advocates the DOMA – the federal law that denies the humanity of LGBT people and denies them basic rights in the name of ‘protecting natural marriage.’ Saints Peter and Paul Church hosts events such as the Unborn Jesus Hour, and hosted hundreds of travelers for the largest protest against abortion rights on the west coast.” A similar reason was given for the protest in Seattle. No reason was given for targeting the Santa Monica Pier.
At 4:00 p.m. demonstrators began to gather in Washington Square Park, across from Saints Peter and Paul. They eventually numbered around 25. 12 members of the San Francisco police department were on hand, to make sure there was no violation of religious worship rights.
Just before the 5:00 p,m, Mass began, the group left the park to demonstrate in front of the church. The police stationed themselves in front of the church. No action by the police was required, but judging from the glares and comments some old ladies directed at the protestors, it’s just as well they were there. The protestors were mostly quiet but did try to engage passers-by and Mass-goers in conversation. They met with little agreement: a lady walking a dog got in a verbal confrontation with one of the protestors. Another lady going to Mass simply said loudly “Abortion is murder.” A man entering the church said “They say women’s blood is on our hands—what about the blood of the babies?” Another man, a stranger to the first, heard this and added “That’s right, and its innocent blood!” The protestors’ quiet demeanor suddenly changed to loud chanting, as reception of Communion began in the church. Following their chants the protestors departed, just before Mass let out.
As is the case when they protest the Walk for Life West Coast, the pro-abortionists were badly outnumbered. In this case they were outnumbered not by pro-lifers, but by the poor and homeless waiting in line for the church’s daily sandwich giveaway, a ministry Saints Peter and Paul has provided since the Depression.