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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story | author
Mar 03, 2011
Filed under Features

Pro-life initiative growing strong

This year’s 40 Days for Life initiative kicks off on March 9 in 243 cities . . .

This spring pro-life advocates in 243 cities around the globe are gearing up to participate in the wildly successful 40 Days for Life initiative. The coordinated international campaign begins March 9 and runs through April 17, coinciding with the season of Lent.

The campaign will stretch from coast-to-coast in the United States and extend into Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, Belize, Spain, Georgia and Armenia.

“With the dramatic changes in congressional leadership, negative attention surrounding Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry, and the monumental shift in public attitudes regarding the right to life, we have reached a cultural tipping point,” said Shawn Carney, co-founder of 40 Days for Life. “Against that backdrop, we are preparing to launch the largest-ever 40 Days for Life campaign.”

Prayerful vigil

Founded in 2004 by Carney and David Bereit, 40 Days for Life involves 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, 40 days of constant vigil outside abortion centers and Planned Parenthood offices, plus 40 days of pro-life community outreach.

David BereitThe 40 Days movement continues to grow. The organization has thus far coordinated seven national campaigns, twice each year, beginning in the fall of 2007. More than 400,000 people in some 337 cities have taken part. Nine abortion centers have closed following 40 Days for Life prayer vigils, and at least 43 abortion industry employees have quit their jobs, including Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood facility.

“The best news,” Carney said, “is that there are 3,599 children — and their mothers — who were spared from abortion. And of course, those are just the ones we know about. There may be countless others.

“Just the sight of people peacefully praying can touch the consciences of those who are so desperate they think abortion is a solution,” he said. “We know of many cases where minds have been changed — and lives saved — without a single word ever being spoken.”

Defund Planned Parenthood

On another front, 40 Days for Life teamed up with a coalition of pro-life organizations last month for a series of nationwide “Exposed Planned Parenthood” vigils for victims of sex trafficking. Spurred on by the success of Live Action, the pro-life group founded by Lila Rose to conduct undercover sting operations on Planned Parenthood facilities, the hour-long vigils were held in every U.S. time zone on St. Valentine’s Day.

Rose, 40 Days founder Bereit, and other pro-life leaders held vigil at a Washington, D.C., abortion clinic. The vigils are part of a concerted effort to compel Congress to cut federal funding for abortion providers.

“Young girls are going into Planned Parenthood clinics every day, too many the victims of abuse,” Rose said at an “Expose Planned Parenthood” news conference announcing the vigils. “300,000 to 400,000 children are trafficked for sex every year, and too many are taken to Planned Parenthood clinics for secret abortions. The clinics that these abused girls will walk into will not only turn a blind eye to their abuse, but would do business with their pimps and keep their abuse secret.”

Rep. Mike Pence

Prayerful protests and Live Action’s efforts have gained the attention of lawmakers. Rep.Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said his efforts to do away with federal funding of Planned Parenthood are gaining traction — and not just with Republicans.

“There are now more than 160 co-sponsors — Republicans and some Democrats — who are coming together to say that no more public funding will flow into Title X clinics,” he told American Family Radio. “I believe we’re reaching a point where we can end public funding for Planned Parenthood once and for all.” The bill passed the House on Feb. 18 by a 248-185 margin.

Pence noted that Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report shows the abortion-provider took in more than $350 million in federal and state grants, as well as some private donations. At the same time, he added, Planned Parenthood boasted of having performed more than 300,000 abortions.

This article is reprinted with permission from A list of communities participating in 40 Days for Life is online at:


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