‘40 Days for Life’ Saves Lives

This fall’s campaign began Sept. 27 in hundreds of cities worldwide and runs through Nov. 7

Volunteers from the 40 Days for Life campaign gather to pray in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Hempstead, New York.
Volunteers from the 40 Days for Life campaign gather to pray in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Hempstead, New York. (photo: Patty Knap)

“It’s so great that you’re here,” Delsy said. She had scheduled an abortion for that day at the Long Island abortion center.

Pulling into the parking lot, she saw some people along the fence who appeared to be praying.

She wondered what the “Please Let Us Help You” and “40 Days for Life” signs meant. As she got out of her car, a man with rosary beads dangling from his arm said, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” Something about the sincerity in his eyes made her turn around.

“Whatever you’re here for, we can help you. Please, tell me, are you here for an abortion?” Delsy said yes, and the man told her all the people along the sidewalk were praying the Rosary for her and her baby.

“You don’t have to do this,” he told her. Over the next 15 minutes Delsy shared that she really didn’t want to abort her child but felt there was no way she could have this baby alone. When she told her boyfriend she was pregnant, he moved out. She didn’t earn much money and now had to pay for an apartment by herself.

Ignacio has committed himself to three days a week at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility during the fall 40 Days for Life campaign. The prayer and fasting effort proclaims that the lives of these babies matter, that helping their mothers choose life matters, that prayer matters. At designated abortion locations, local people stand vigil around the clock for 40 days, a number with scriptural significance.

This fall’s campaign began Sept. 27 in hundreds of cities around the world. In 2007, the original 40 Days for Life leaders in Texas launched the first nationally-coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign, spanning 89 cities in 33 states. Before long, campaigns had been hosted in all 50 states. Now hundreds of cities in dozens of countries participate in the 40 Days for Life campaigns. Pro-lifers in places like Houston, Manhattan, Indianapolis, Toronto, London, Sydney, Mexico City, Cape Town, Bogota, Moscow and Hong Kong stand together in prayerful solidarity that all lives are sacred.

Ignacio explained to Delsy that a pregnancy center just up the street would be able to talk to her, explore her situation, and (crucially) show her an ultrasound of her child. He said that women who have gone to this Planned Parenthood have stated they paid for an ultrasound (usually through their insurance), only to have the screen turned away from them. They were prevented from seeing the ultrasound themselves, while the abortion worker checked the size of the baby to determine how much “work” was involved and therefore what the fee would be. He told her that the pregnancy center wanted her to see the ultrasound, and wanted her to know the full ramifications of aborting this child, rather than rushing her to abort immediately before she could slow down and think.

So Delsy went to Women First Pregnancy Options that day. She found people who really cared and had no profit motive. After confirming her pregnancy, they showed her fetal models and explained the many negative consequences of abortion, such as an increased risk for future miscarriage, infertility, breast cancer, depression, even suicide. They encouraged her to include God in the situation.

“He knows you could take the ‘easy’ way out. Tell him you are trusting him to find a way for you to have this baby.”

The possibility of adoption was raised. Delsy knew several people who had either been adopted or had adopted a child themselves. The pregnancy center showed her a letter they’d just received earlier that week from a couple looking to adopt. With photos, details about their lives and an 800 number, it highlighted just how many couples wait to adopt. Pregnancy centers frequently receive such letters because these couples know it’s the pregnancy centers that see young women in unplanned pregnancies who might otherwise abort.

It was pointed out to Delsy that, unfortunately, abortion would still be legal next month, and the month after that. Why rush to have an abortion today? She might very well regret it later. They encouraged her to see her ultrasound first, and scheduled her for a free one the next day. They told her they would help with maternity and baby things for at least two years. She left that day with a handmade baby blanket, the ultrasound referral and hope. As it turned out, her sister invited her to come live with her and promised to do anything she could to help with the baby.

After she saw the ultrasound of her little unborn son, Delsy decided she couldn’t abort him. A few days later, she stopped in front of Planned Parenthood to thank the kind man who’d intercepted an abortion.

“It’s so great you’re here,” she told him. Now Delsy is thinking and praying about either raising the baby herself or choosing an adoption plan.

So far this fall’s 40 Days for Life campaign is known to have saved 97 babies! There’s still time for you to join other pro-lifers in your community in the 40 Days for Life campaign, which runs through Nov. 7. You can sign up for vigil hours and contact local coordinators at 40DaysForLife.com.

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On May 13, when they announced their departure from the Catholic Church, the Poor Clares of Belorado indicated in a letter and a declaration that they recognize “H.H. Pius XII as the last valid Supreme Pontiff,” a decision that was explained through an attached 70-page text titled “Catholic Manifesto” claiming that “the see of St. Peter is vacant and usurped.”