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Walk for Life West Coast 2022Kathy Fulan

SAN FRANCISCO (LifeSiteNews) — At the end of her presentation, a speaker at the West Coast Walk for Life delivered a strong rebuke to the President of the United States for his virulent pro-abortion stance while presenting himself as a Catholic.

“I have a message for Joe Biden,” said Irene Zamorano-Archacki, a mother of seven and Silent No More Awareness Coordinator for Los Angeles County.

“You are a baptized Catholic, sir,” said Zamorano-Archacki. “Start acting like it.”

The large crowd gathered in front of San Francisco’s City Hall on Saturday signaled its enthusiasm for Zamorano-Archacki’s admonishment of President Biden with loud cheers and applause.

“The enemies of life were outraged and the defenders of life were jubilant when this year’s recipient issued an infamous pastoral letter defending life,” said Dolores Meehan as she prepared to announce the surprise winner of this year’s Gianna Molla Award for pro-life heroism.

“John Lennon sang so famously, ‘Imagine there’s no heaven, no religion, too,”’ noted Meehan.

“This year’s recipient said, ‘Imagine there’s no abortion,’” said Meehan before calling San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to the stage to receive the pro-life heroism award.

“Life is winning, and life will win,” proclaimed the visibly surprised and moved archbishop, “and we will rebuild a culture of life.”

Perhaps the most powerful message of the day came in the testimony of Christi Hockel, a woman with Down syndrome.

“The first thing you ought to know about me is that I am an exception,” began Hockel.

“How many times have you heard people say, ‘I don’t approve of abortion except in cases of rape, incest,” said Hockel, who then pointed a finger at herself, adding, “and birth defects.”

“Those people think I am a birth defect, a baby who’s simply eliminated because I have Down syndrome. Which means I have an extra copy of chromosome number 21 in my cells. That makes me one of those exceptions they are talking about.”

“But it also has made my whole life exceptional,” declared Hockel to the applause and cheers of the crowd.

“And my exceptional life has been full and fulfilling. I have graduated high school, taught drama in a junior college, passed my driving test on the first try, and served on the board of a National Down Syndrome Congress.”

“I am an employee. I have helped teachers and kids in a Texas school for ten years. I have been a hospital volunteer. I am a fellow of a university,” said Hockel, a Fellow of the Townsend Institute of Irvine’s Concordia University.

“And best of all, I have been a loving wife. I fell in love. I got married in the Church and moved 1,200 miles away from my home in California to Dallas where I have lived happily for almost 12 years with my handsome husband in our own home,” she recounted.

“Right now I am learning how to live my life as a widow,” said Hockel, whose husband died suddenly last May. “Even for exceptional people, not everything in life is easy. But I am still glad that my mother did not hesitate to choose life.”

“I know that not all people who have Down syndrome will be able to accomplish what I have done. Some of my best friends who have Down syndrome are unable to talk, so I am here to speak for all people,” she explained.

The American College of OBGYNs decided that every pregnant mother should be tested to find out if their unborn child has Down syndrome. We know that most mothers [who] find out that their unborn baby has Down syndrome don’t give their baby a chance. They think I am a tragedy that they don’t want to face. But people who have Down syndrome are really good at love. This is especially true for my friends who can’t speak.

I hope you will remember this about me: I may not be as smart as some people, but I know that being smart isn’t always what makes people happy. And what makes people happy is loving and being loved.

And when it comes to loving, people who have Down syndrome are truly exceptional. We are badly needed in this world.

“So far, all unborn exceptions like me, let’s walk! Walk for us! Let’s claim our right to life!” urged Hockel, “and defend our exceptional love.”

Hockel’s beautiful message echoed that of Nathan Sullivan, a man conceived in rape, at the last Walk for Life rally held in January 2020.

Sullivan told the crowd that those who allow an exception to their pro-life views for children conceived by rape to be aborted are not truly ‘pro-life.’

“Life is life, no exceptions,” said Sullivan. “Life is a gift, no exceptions. Life is precious, no exceptions.”