40 Days for Life

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40 Days for Life is an international, Christian not-for-profit organization that organizes grassroots campaigns against abortion in more than 60 nations worldwide. [1] It was originally started in 2004 by members of the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life, including David Bereit and Shawn Carney. [2] The name refers to a repeated pattern of events lasting for 40 days in the Bible, such as Noah’s Ark, Moses’s 40 days on Mount Sinai, and Jesus’s 40 days in the desert. [3] [4]

Each year, the campaign is active in the spring during the Christian season of Lent and in the fall. [5] More than 1,000,000 people have participated in the campaign worldwide. [6] The fall 2019 campaign launched in 505 locations around the world, including the United States, Croatia, Colombia, Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom. [7] [8] The 2019 fall campaign dates are September 25 to November. [9]

History[edit]

The initial 2004 local campaign was begun in reaction to the presence of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility which had opened in Bryan, Texas in 1998. [10] Four members of the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life, including David Bereit and Shawn Carney, decided to start the prayer campaign 24 hours a day for 40 days with the goal of closing the facility. [11]

The initial campaign resulted in a rejuvenation of local pro-life activities in the Bryan-College Station area. [12] Over the next two and a half years, the campaign was replicated in six other cities. [13]

In early 2007, the original 40 Days for Life leaders suggested a simultaneous nationwide 40 Days for Life campaign in as many cities as wished to participate. [14] The first national campaign ran that fall with vigils in 89 cities in 33 U.S. states. [15]

A second national campaign was added to run during the spring of each year, starting in Lent of 2008 with campaigns in 59 cities. [16] [17]

The spring 2009 campaign had numerous U.S. and international cities participating, including Brisbane, Australia and cities in Canada, Northern Ireland, and the United States. [18]

During the fall 2009 campaign, Abby Johnson, the director of the Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan, Texas (where 40 Days for Life originated), resigned and joined the Coalition for Life. [19]

In 2013, the Bryan Planned Parenthood closed. The building is now operated by 40 Days for Life as its international headquarters. At the end of 2016, leadership of the organization was passed from David Bereit to Shawn Carney, who now serves as president and CEO of 40 Days for Life. [20]

As of the spring 2019 campaign, more than 1,000,000 people have participated in 61 countries across all six populated continents. [21] Approximately 19,000 churches have participated in the 6,428 local campaigns that have been held since 40 Days for Life began. [22] [23] 40 Days for Life participants report more than 16,000 confirmed cases of abortions stopped as a result of the campaign [24] and more than 100 abortion facilities [25] closed following the campaign. Campaigns continue to be held in the spring and fall of each year. [26]

Campaigns[edit]

A 40 Days for Life campaign consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting in shifts outside of a clinic or hospital that performs abortions or which is an abortion referral center. [27] The campaign also involves outreach to the community to promote awareness about abortion and outreach directly to women considering abortion. [28] Campaigns are coordinated to take place twice yearly during Lent and fall, although not all campaign locations participate every time. [29]

Internationally, the 40 Days for Life campaign is considered an American-style protest. [30] However, campaigns are led and run by local leaders who tailor the campaign to the local culture and circumstances. [31]

Opposition[edit]

Participants in the 40 Days for Life campaigns are required to sign a “Statement of Peace” stating that they will act lawfully and peacefully while participating in the campaign. [32] Holly Baxter, a journalist for the British publication The Guardian states that the organization’s participants at the vigils are generally friendly. [33] However, abortion-rights activists, concerned that the campaigns harass and intimidate women seeking abortion, have reacted in opposition to the 40 Days for Life campaign, including protests against 40 Days for Life such as “40 Days of Choice,” among others. [34] An ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) spokesperson called 40 Days for Life “the most dangerous threat to choice.” [35]

Abortion-rights activists have also pursued legal avenues such as buffer zones, especially in Canada and Europe, to prevent anti-abortion activists from approaching women or standing nearby abortion facilities. [36]

In some cases, abortion-rights activists have reacted violently against 40 Days for Life participants. The fall 2010 campaign 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 facility. [37] During the spring 2019 campaign, an 85-year-old 40 Days for Life participant in San Francisco was beaten, his sign stolen, and the incident captured on video. [38]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

For example, 40 Days for Life has campaigned against clinics in Ireland (where abortion is illegal unless the mother's life is at risk) which help women who are thinking of having an abortion in Britain (where abortion is legal on a wide number of grounds). [39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monaghan, Gabrielle (February 7, 2016). "Pro-life activists to picket clinic". The Times. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  2. ^ Laurence, Lianne (December 7, 2016). "After nearly 10 years and 12,668 babies saved, 40 Days for Life CEO moves on". Life Site: News. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  3. ^ Kukla, Kevin. "David Bereit recounts 40 Days for Life's origins". ProLife 365. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "40 Days for Life". Diocese of Sioux City. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  5. ^ Dwyer, Fr. Dave. "40 Days for Life". Busted Halo. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  6. ^ Template:Floridacatholic.org/2019/09/11/40-days-for-life-fall-campaign-begins-sept-25/
  7. ^ Jackson, George (October 4, 2010). "Doctor charged with pointing handgun at abortion protestors". Bristol Herald Courier. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  8. ^ "40 Days for Life". Coalition for Life. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Parke, Caleb (July 17, 2019). "Planned Parenthood CEO ousted because group is 'driven by abortion,' pro-life leader says". Fox News. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  10. ^ "40 Days for Life". Diocese of Sioux City. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  11. ^ Kukla, Kevin (June 18, 2014). "David Bereit recounts 40 Days for Life's origins". ProLife 365. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  12. ^ Kukla, Kevin (June 18, 2014). "David Bereit recounts 40 Days for Life's origins". ProLife 365. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  13. ^ Adelmann, Bob (March 1, 2017). "40 Days for Life supporters hold prayer vigil in nation's capital". New American. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  14. ^ "U.S. kicks off 40 Days for Life". Zenit News Agency. September 26, 2007. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  15. ^ O'Brien, Linda (September 10, 2007). "40 Days for Life campaign". Catholic Exchange. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  16. ^ Farber, Michelle. "Let's have 40 days of choice against 40 days of lies". International Socialist Organization. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  17. ^ Jones, Lawrence (February 25, 2009). "40 Days for Life campaign kicks off in 130 cities". Christian Post. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  18. ^ Jones, Lawrence (February 25, 2009). "40 Days for Life campaign kicks off in 130 cities". Christian Post. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  19. ^ "Former Planned Parenthood leader Abby Johnson on life unplanned". The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  20. ^ "40 Days for Life". Diocese of Sioux City. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  21. ^ "40 Days for Life fall campaign begins Sept. 25". Florida Catholic.
  22. ^ Salemink, Michael. "40 Days for Life/National Life Chain". Lutherans for Life.
  23. ^ "Manitowoc 40 Days for Life campaign starts Sept. 25 along Calumet Avenue". Herald Times Reporter. September 18, 2019. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  24. ^ Hallowell, Billy (July 15, 2019). "He saved 16,000 unborn babies' lives and helped rescue Abby Johnson from Planned Parenthood". CBN News. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  25. ^ "40 Days for life closes its 100th abortion facility -- and it's in the UK". Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  26. ^ Dwyer, Fr. Dave. "40 Days for Life". Busted Halo. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  27. ^ Dwyer, Dr. Dave. "40 Days for Life". Busted Halo.
  28. ^ Knapp, Patty (March 6, 2017). "The 40 Days of Lent are 40 Days for Life". National Catholic Register. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  29. ^ Dwyer, Dr. Dave. "40 Days for Life". Busted Halo.
  30. ^ Woodyatt, Amy (July 9, 2019). "'Americanized' anti-abortion protests are on the rise in the UK. But a fight back has begun". CNN: World. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  31. ^ Kwaning, Marisa (June 2, 2016). "Pro-life prayer movement advances in Hong Kong, gateway to Asia". Life Site: News. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  32. ^ Ditum, Sarah (March 13, 2012). "Anti-abortion campaigners like 40 Days for Life have resorted to intimidation". The Guardian. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  33. ^ Baxter, Holly (March 26, 2013). "40 Days for Life: Prayers and protests". The Guardian. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  34. ^ Farber, Michelle. "Lets have 40 days of choice against 40 days of lies". International Socialist Organization. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  35. ^ Baldwin, Lou. "40 Days for Life vigils show support for women in crisis pregnancy". Archived from original. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  36. ^ Caton, Mary (March 25, 2019). "Windsor Regional Hospital draws dueling rallies over abortion". Windsor Star. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  37. ^ Jackson, George (October 4, 2010). "Doctor charged with pointing handgun at abortion protestors". Bristol Herald Courier. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  38. ^ Parke, Caleb (March 29, 2019). "85-year-old pro-lifer attacked while praying outside San Francisco Planned Parenthood". Fox News. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  39. ^ Monaghan, Gabrielle (February 7, 2016). "Pro-life activists to picket clinic". The Times. Retrieved September 25, 2019.

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