WASHINGTON (BP)—The most enriching occurrence in Krysten Haga’s time as director of a 40 Days for Life campaign came when she learned there was no longer a need for her to fill that role.
Near the conclusion of last fall’s campaign in Lubbock, Texas, the city’s only abortion clinic—Planned Parenthood—shut down a business that had taken the lives of more than 30,000 unborn babies, according to the 40 Days for Life national staff. The facility had not only been a site of 40 Days prayer vigils, but reportedly could not meet the state’s new abortion clinic regulations.
As the local campaign director, Haga “had the honor of sending the email that announced the closing of Planned Parenthood Lubbock for good, which was by far the most rewarding experience I have ever had while being involved with 40 Days for Life,” the Texas Tech University student told Baptist Press in an email interview.
When Planned Parenthood Lubbock, an affiliate of the country’s largest abortion provider, stopped performing the lethal procedures, Haga recalled, “I spent that Friday afternoon [Nov. 1] emailing everybody that I could think of to share the good news, including the national team” of 40 Days.
As a result, tens of thousands of volunteers are gathering outside abortion clinics in 251 cities spread across 11 countries, during the 40 Days campaign March 5-April 13 hoping for an outcome similar to the one the 40 Days team in Lubbock witnessed. The campaign is being held throughout the United States and in cities in Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, England, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Wales.
The around-the-clock prayer vigils outside abortion facilities that are at the heart of the semi-annual campaigns have provided a significant boost to the pro-life movement since the effort went national in 2007. In the ensuing six years, 40 Days—which also consists of community outreach, prayer and fasting to end abortion—has reported the following:
►More than 8,200 unborn children have been spared from abortion.
►44 abortion facilities have closed, and 88 clinic workers have left their jobs.
►About 600,000 people representing some 16,500 churches have participated in 522 cities across all 50 states and 20 other countries.
On its website, the 40 Days national staff encourages participants during each campaign to pray not only for women considering abortion and the unborn children whose lives are threatened but, among other requests, for post-abortion women and men, and abortion center workers.
The most recent 40 Days international campaign was marked by continued growth demonstrated in new locations and greater numbers of participants at repeat locations, 40 Days National Director David Bereit told BP in an email interview.
He said there has been a greater diversity in the participants involved, such as Haga, who is Roman Catholic, and others, who are “youth and young adults, Protestant and evangelical Christians, and minorities–most notably a dramatic increase in Hispanic participation.”
The fall 2013 campaign appeared to reflect “a growing sense of hope and optimism as record numbers of abortion centers are closing, as more workers are converting and going public and as more local and state pro-life laws are enacted,” Bereit said.
Along with the hopeful signs, the foremost discouragement reported to the national 40 Days staff, Bereit wrote, was volunteers asking: “Where is the rest of the church of Jesus Christ?”
There remains “enormous opportunity for greater Christian participation in pro-life efforts,” he said.
The locations for the next 40 Days campaign may be accessed at http://www.40daysforlife.com/location.html.
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