40 Days for Life campaign aims to end abortion in Alabama, nationcomments (5)
March 20, 2014
By Julie Payne
A few months ago, a young mother in Alabama visited an abortion clinic with her parents in tow. Standing outside this particular clinic was a man displaying a “Choose Life” sign that pictured a tiny baby being held in the palm of a hand. This same family later approached the man and informed him that his sign had caused them to change their minds about the abortion.
A baby’s life was saved.
Stories just like this one are happening across the country thanks in part to the current 40 Days for Life campaign to help save the lives of the unborn.
The pro-life campaign’s vision is to access God’s power through prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil to end abortion. Since the movement began, across the United States “8,245 babies ... have been saved, 48 abortion centers have closed and 88 abortion workers have left the industry,” said Claire Chretien, campaign director of 40 Days for Life in Tuscaloosa.
In Alabama, 40 Days for Life is currently taking place through April 13 in Tuscaloosa and four other cities: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.
For each Alabama location, a vigil calendar website is available where a participant can sign up for an hour of prayer on the sidewalk in front of the abortion location.
“We encourage and help support churches and other groups who wish to ‘adopt a day’ and cover all hours for that day,” noted Ed Carrick, local coordinator for 40 Days for Life efforts in Birmingham. “Our constant presence offers a clear sign to the community that abortions take place in this location and that those of us participating are asking for God’s mercy in changing the hearts and minds of all those who work there and who are tempted to facilitate abortions.”
Carrick noted that each 40 Days for Life location also typically conducts a launch gathering, a midpoint rally and a closing rally.
“Over the last five years, 40 Days has witnessed God working in the community in many ways,” he said. “We see more and more people overcome their fear and come out to the sidewalk. We see more churches involved each year.”
And in these five years Carrick said locally they have seen about 250 babies saved from abortions. “Cars will drive by and stop to show us an infant in a car seat and thank us for being there when they chose not to keep their abortion appointment,” he added.
Chretien, who also serves as president of the pro-life student group “Bama Students for Life” at the University of Alabama, said Tuscaloosa is home to the state’s busiest abortion facility, West Alabama Women’s Center. In 2012 alone the center performed nearly 40 percent of all abortions in the state, Chretien said.
“Last fall, our prayer campaign was so successful that the West Alabama Women’s Center repeatedly reduced its hours, meaning it was committing fewer abortions,” she noted, adding that during that timeframe six babies she knew of were spared due to the campaign’s presence outside the facility.
At press time there were about 3,000 people in Alabama who had signed up for the 40 Days for Life vigil calendar and email reports, and approximately 700 were in the Birmingham area, Carrick said.
In Tuscaloosa, roughly 50 students are participating alongside numerous area churches, Chretien reported. Students, churches and families will pray outside the West Alabama Women’s Center, asking God for an end to abortion in Tuscaloosa.
This is the second time Bama Students for Life has led Tuscaloosa’s 40 Days for Life campaign. “We led the fall 2013 campaign as well, and we participated in the vigils as a club … before we began leading the campaign,” Chretien said.
The current 40 Days for Life events in Alabama began just one day after state legislators passed several abortion restrictions March 4. Four measures passed the House of Representatives and still need to go through the Senate and be signed by Gov. Robert Bentley to become law, according to a CNN report.
One of the bills, sponsored by Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs, would require doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, and if a fetal heartbeat is detected, the abortion would be illegal and a doctor performing one would be guilty of a felony, according to al.com.
“The pre-born are the most vulnerable and defenseless among us; they are truly the ‘least of these’ who Jesus tells us to serve,” Chretien said. “To believers and nonbelievers alike, I would say 40 Days for Life is rooted in love. We love all people, whether they are pre-born, mothers facing a crisis or abortion workers.”
There is no deadline to participate in 40 Days for Life — people can even join on the very last day, April 13, if they choose. For more information about joining the efforts in Alabama and to access a specific location’s vigil schedule, visit http://40daysforlife.com/location.html and click on the location nearest you.