Starting next Wednesday, people all over the country will be taking part in the 40 Days for Life campaign. Beginning as a local campaign in Bryan/College Station, Texas, the 40 Days for Life was the answer to the prayers of a pro-life group there who wanted to find a way to reduce abortions in their area. 1,000 people participated and directly caused a 28% decline in abortions there. Because of this success, in 2005 and 2006 more communities held their own 40 Days for Life programs, and then in 2007 the first national 40 Days for Life campaign began. More than 80 cities in more than 30 states took part in this campaign from September 26 to November 4, 2007. Because of the positive results of this national campaign, a second national campaign was scheduled during Lent in 2008, from February 6 to March 16. More than 50 cities participated in this campaign. Now it is time for another national campaign, which takes place September 24 – November 2, finishing just before election day.
The 40 Days for Life campaign involves fasting and prayer, constant vigil, and community outreach. According to the official website, “Christ told us that some demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting. The two go hand in hand. Prayer keeps us rooted in the fact that it is our desire to carry out God's will. Fasting is a sacrifice that helps us reach beyond our own limitations with God's help.” Fasting does not necessarily have to be from food, as is commonly thought – it can be from anything that separates you from God. The constant vigil aspect of the 40 Days for Life involves keeping, ideally, a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week prayer vigil outside of places where abortions take place. (So if there's a vigil going on near you, go sign up for a time slot so all the hours are covered throughout the 40 days!) This makes the campaign visible, and shows the workers of the clinic, the patients who go there, and the community in general that there are people who are committed to doing something to end abortions. The community outreach branch of the campaign has a similar goal – through door-to-door petitions, informational flyers, and educational drives those participating hope to be able to show their communities why they are taking part in this campaign, and why the campaign is important for each community and society in general.
This year, more than 170 communities in both the United States and Canada, in 45 states and two provinces, have plans to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign. Each location has a link you can click to see what that location is doing for the campaign, and how to sign up to participate in your area. Those organizing and taking part in the campaign hope that this might be the force necessary to lead to a few states, at least, becoming officially abortion-free. North Dakota and Mississippi each only have one abortion facility in the entire state, and vigils will be held there during this 40 Days for Life campaign in hopes that they will shut down for good and end abortion in those two states. Vigils will also be held outside the two abortion facilities remaining in both Kentucky and Nebraska. The previous campaigns have had great successes that resulted in the permanent closing of some abortion clinics where vigils took place, and the hope is that this one will have some of the same successes, if not more. The focus for this fall campaign is to get some states to be completely free of the scourge of abortion.
It is becoming increasingly clear that abortion and right-to-life issues will be playing a huge role in this year's presidential election, and there could be some huge changes coming soon, in either direction (depending on how the election goes). John McCain has made it clear that he wants to be separated from Barack Obama's vehemently pro-choice record by his selection of the proudly pro-life Sarah Palin as his running mate. Gov. Palin brought the issue of abortion into the election even more than it had been, especially because of the fact that in April she gave birth to her fifth child, a baby boy named Trig who has Down syndrome. While many end up aborting when they find out that their unborn baby has Down syndrome, Governor Palin refused to do this and instead accepted with joy the blessed gift God has given her family.
The 40 Days for Life website has ways for everyone to get involved, whether or not they live in a city where an organized campaign is taking place. There are devotionals for each of the 40 days, and explanations for how to start a campaign in your own community if there is not one. It is a wonderful program, one that is unfortunately necessary right now but hopefully will not be needed for much longer. It is only through prayer and hard work that we will be able to rid our country of this horrible affliction that has had such a hold for the past 35 years. The more people who participate, either by taking part in vigils outside abortion clinics or by praying and fasting, or just by getting the word out about the campaign and the issues, the hope is that abortion will be eradicated from our society. We need to show the world that not everyone is accepting with the situation as it is, and that we're trying to do something to change it. Let's work to make this a headline year for the 40 Days for Life campaign!
If you are looking for pro-life reading resources, we have a bunch to choose from. We also carry the Precious Feet pins.
He lives with his lovely wife and eleven kids in northern Colorado.