WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 40 Days for Life 2018 fall campaign began on Wednesday, claiming groups in a record 415 cities are taking part.
“The momentum in the pro-life movement is ours to keep or lose,” Shawn Carney, president of 40 Days for Life, said Sept. 23. “We are going all in this fall.”
“We have received more media coverage, conducted more leader training, and offered more free materials to local campaigns than ever before,” he added.
The outreach campaign, launched in 2007, takes place in both the spring and the fall. It aims to use prayer, fasting and peaceful vigils to end abortion and to ask God to “turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion,” the campaign website says.
According to its own figures, 40 Days for Life outreach has helped save over 14,600 lives from abortion. Its volunteers have held over 5,600 campaigns in 769 cities in 50 countries, with about 750,000 total participants.
During these campaigns, 96 abortion facilities have closed and 178 abortion workers have quit their jobs, the group says.
One group in the eastern U.S. began the fall 2018 campaign a week and a half early, and learned that one abortion worker quit during their sidewalk witness.
The campaign explicitly encourages a “positive, prayerful presence” and participants avoid shouting, confrontations with patients and employees, and the use of graphic images of abortion.
In Birmingham, England, the fall campaign began with 150 people at its launch event.
Speakers included a grandfather whose grandchild would have been aborted if the child’s pregnant mother hadn’t encountered participants in a 40 Days for Life vigil. Also speaking was a woman who had an abortion after she became pregnant through assault.
A couple whose baby was saved from abortion during a previous campaign appeared with their child.
The campaign has been underway in Boston, Massachusetts, for 10 years where Rita, a retired obstetrics nurse, is now a local leader. She told 40 Days for Life she is normally a homebody, but years ago she mentioned the possibility of leading the campaign to her husband.
“I wanted to run it by him because I knew he would tell me no, and then I’d be off the hook. Instead he said, ‘I think we should do it!’ We’ve been leading here ever since and have no plans to stop,” she said.
40 Days for Life is testing a billboard campaign near some abortion facilities. One Green Bay billboard next to a Planned Parenthood clinic bears a picture of a smiling woman. It says “Women deserve better than Planned Parenthood,” followed by a smaller tagline that reads: “The beginning of the end of abortion.”