40 Days for Life
40 Days for Life is an international group that campaigns against abortion, originally started in 2004 by a local group in Bryan-College Station, Texas, led by David Bereit. The campaign is active in the fall and spring of each year, though local campaigns may continue it year-round. The fall 2010 campaign launched in 238 locations around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland, and Denmark. The group claims that as of 2014, officially affiliated groups have been active in 25 countries.
40 Days for Life campaigns are managed by local volunteers in each of the cities involved in the effort. A 40 Days for Life campaign consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting combined with vigils in shifts outside of a clinic or hospital that performs abortions. With enough volunteers, this protest may be round-the-clock. A small national office coordinates communications and provides training and other resources for the local volunteers. The organization claims their efforts have prevented 8,973 abortions since 2007, leading to the closure of 54 abortion clinics.
The initial campaign resulted in a rejuvenation of local pro-life activities in the Bryan-College Station area. Over the next two and a half years, the campaign was replicated in six other cities.
In early 2007, the leaders of those first campaigns got together and suggested a simultaneous nationwide 40 Days for Life campaign in as many cities as wished to participate.
The first national campaign ran from September 26 - November 4 with activities in more than 80 cities in more than 30 American states.
A short while after the end of the Spring 2008 Campaign, 40 Days for Life executive director David Bereit was at the White House lawn on April 16 as President George W. Bush welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to the White House at the start of his visit to the United States.
A third nationwide 40 Days for Life campaign was scheduled from September 24 - November 2.
The Spring 2009 campaign had numerous participating cities, including Brisbane Australia, cities in Canada, Northern Ireland, and the United States.
During the Fall 2009 campaign, Abby Johnson, the director of the Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan, Texas (where 40 days for Life had originated), became a pro-life activist. After holding a probe for an ultrasound guided abortion (Johnson was technically the facility manager and thus did not usually perform or assist in abortions) Johnson stated that she had seen "the baby move away from the probe". Shortly after this experience, Johnson quit working for Planned Parenthood and joined the Coalition for Life, the local group that had been praying outside her former facility.
The Fall 2010 campaign ran from September 22 to October 31, 2010. It attracted attention when a Tennessee abortion provider was arrested for brandishing a handgun at three 40 Days for Life participants demonstrating outside a South Carolina abortion clinic.
The spring 2011 campaign ran from March 9 to April 17, 2011. 40 Days for Life, according to their definition of embryos and fetuses as babies, says that they are aware of "483 babies who have been saved from abortion" as a result of the campaign.
The spring 2013 campaign ran from March 5 to April 17, 2013. The group says that the campaign involved over 100,000 participants from over 3,600 churches, in 253 locations across 10 countries, and that they are aware of "728 lives saved from abortion" as a result of the campaign, and 8 abortion clinics closed following the campaign.
- Tim Drake (Aug 4, 2007). "40 Days for Life: Pro-Life Group Launches National Campaign". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "40 Days for Life Launches in Record 238 Locations around the World". LifeSite News. 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "Results". 40 Days for Life. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "40 Days for Life". Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose in California. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "U.S. Kicks Off 40 Days for Life". Zenit News Agency. 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "Abortion Opponents in 59 Cities Prepare Focused 40-Day Campaign to Counter Impact". Reuters. Jan 21, 2008.
- "White House update #10". 40 Days for Life. 2008-04-16. Archived from the original on 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- Anne-Marie Dorning (2009-11-05). "Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Joins Anti-Abortion Group". ABC News. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "Police: Abortion doctor pulls gun". The Post and Courier. 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "40 Days for Life Campaign Ends, 483 Babies Saved From Abortion". LifeNews.com. 2011-04-17. Retrieved 2014-07-21.