From September 26 through Nov. 4, four cities in Oregon saw concerted efforts to save the lives of the unborn as part of the latest global 40 Days for Life campaign.
The 40 Days for Life events took place in Portland, Salem, Eugene and — for the first time — in St. Helens.
Originally started in 2004 in Bryan-College Station, Texas, 40 Days for Life is a peaceful, highly focused, non-denominational Christian initiative of 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and grassroots educational outreach. The 40-day time frame is drawn from examples throughout Biblical history.
Leaders of the international effort claim that worldwide, a known 592 lives were spared from abortion during the most recent campaign, bringing a total of more than 15,000 babies saved since 40 Days for Life began.
In Portland, the vigil took place outside the Lovejoy Surgicenter at 933 N.W. 25th Ave. Leader Therese Ruesink said she was joined by 175 others — the most participants ever. Thirteen churches were involved, and six babies saved from abortion.
“We witnessed Lovejoy having a reduction in business, such that they are no longer formally ‘open’ to the public on Tuesdays,” Ruesink said. “Their doors are locked, the staff is greatly reduced, and they mainly take phone appointments.”
Ruesink said those standing vigil also made it a point to talk to the abortion workers. “Although the workers are told not to speak to us, we want to let them know that there is a way out for them. It’s called Abortionworker.com, and they offer financial assistance, legal aid — in case the clinnic tries to sue them — counseling and spiritual healing, all confidential and free of charge. Many workers want to get out of that industry, but feel trapped.”
She said the Portland-Beaverton area has had 21 40 Days for Life campaigns durng the last decade, saving 95 babies.
“Also, we have witnessed three abortion facilities in Oregon close their doors forever since we have been praying at various facilities in the state,” Ruesink said. “Praise God and to Him be all the glory!”
Beth Willaims took part in the Salem vigil outside the Planned Parenthood facility, 3825 Wolverine St. N.E..
“The Salem campaign experienced marked growth and participation, as well as increased positive media exposure . More than 50 individuals participated through prayer, fastng and peaceful vigil, exceeding 220 hours of presence on the sidewalk outside the abortion facilities. Multiple congregations were repesented from varying Christian traditions, bringing the community together in Christ to pray for God’s intervention to bring an end to abortion.”
Betty Foll coordinated the first-ever campaign in St. Helens. Because Columbia County has “abortion referral centers,” 40 Days for Life headquarters gave their OK for the vigil to take place on Highway 30, with full public visibility 12 hours each day.
Foll said the St. Helens effort started with only a few volunteers, but finished with 29. Twenty-seven of them helped to fill about 448 hours of the total 480-hour vigil. Ten churches took part either through active participation or supportive prayer.
Foll said the effort ended with a meeting at Mark’s on the Channel restaurant in Scappoose, at which participants rejoiced in what God had accomplished.
“We concluded this effort by sharing stories about what 40 Days for Life has meant for St. Helens, and to offer thanksgiving for this opportunity to point out the harm abortion has done — and continues to do — to our community,” said Foll. “We pray that these 40 days will help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in our community.”
In Eugene, the Planned Parenthood regional center at 3579 Franklin Blvd. also was the site for a 40 Days for Life vigil.
The next global 40 Days for Life campaign is March 6 through April 14. For details, visit www.40daysforlife.com