The next global 40 Days for Life campaign to save unborn babies from abortion begins Feb. 26 and runs through April 5, and its leaders here in the Northwest anticipate more positives to report afterward, as they did with last fall’s campaign.
Twice each year, 40 Days for Life sees hundreds of peaceful, prayerful six-week vigils outside abortion facilities or other sites worldwide. During the last campaign, held Sept. 25 to Nov. 3, the vigils were held in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Bend, St. Helens in Oregon and Vancouver, Wash. They also took place in about 500 other cities in 61 nations. In the new campaign, vigils will be in Portland, Salem, Eugene and Vancouver.
According to leaders of Texas-based 40 Days for Life, at least 738 babies worldwide were confirmed saved as a result of the fall effort, and five abortion clinic workers quit.
For more information on the upcoming campaign, or to register as a participant, go to www.40daysforlife.com. Here is an overview of the most recent campaign in this region, by participating city:
Portland: About 100 prayer warriors opened the campaign outside the Lovejoy Surgicenter in northwest Portland, the largest abortion facility in Oregon. Speakers included Portland Catholic Archbishop Alexander Sample and Jeff Jimerson of Oregon Life United. Over the 40 days, there were more than 150 people who took part, and four babies saved as a result, said participant Randy Stewart.
“One of the fruits of 40 Days is that many of those who participate continue to pray outside abortion facilities after the campaigns have ended,” Stewart said. “The result has been many miracles.”
For instance, he said, in early December a young woman who had arrived at Lovejoy Surgicenter for an abortion spoke with the people praying outside. They told her to ask that the sound on the ultrasound machine in the clinic be turned up during the abortion procedure. Because of that, the woman heard the baby’s heartbeat, she suddenly changed her mind and she had the procedure stopped.
“When she left the facility she asked the people outside for information about adoption,” said Stewart. “They were more than happy to do this and then they gave her a ride home. God is great!”
Salem: Coordinator Bob Snyder said at least 114 volunteers who registered online took part in the vigil outside Planned Parenthood. They came from at least 21 area churches, including from McMinnville, Mount Angel, Silverton, Marion, Jefferson, Stayton, Sublimity, Lebanon and Independence as well as Salem.
“We have no knowledge of any direct saves of unborn babies, but we have faith that there were, and hope that those parents will eventually come forward and tell us,” said Snyder. “It has been the experience in other campaigns I have heard about that it can be years before volunteers find out their prayers and sidewalk presence lead to their meeting a child they have saved.”
Vancouver, Wash.: More than 150 total stood during the campaign at the vigil site outside Planned Parenthood, said coordinator Gerry Parmantier. Dr. Jim Heid, a family physician who works part-time for the Options 360 pregnancy centers in Clark County, spoke about his work as part of the support team there which “meet women where they are.”
New volunteers came from the Students for Life clubs at Clark College and Union High School, as well as a young adults group from Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish. Two moms from The Dalles, stopping by after dental appointments for their children, prayed with the vigil for two hours.
While babies and women are hurt by abortion, so are men, Parmantier noted. One man stopped his truck and rolled down his window to say that as a young man he had participated in an abortion and knew God would send him to hell when he died. One volunteer took his hand and quoted St. Paul’s letter to Timothy: “God wills all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
“The man accepted our packet containing information about post-abortion healing,” Parmantier said. “We pray he will find forgiveness and reconciliation with our Lord.”
Eugene-Springfield: The campaign outside Planned Parenthood was relatively quiet, but there was one and possibly two saves, said coordinator Eileen McMahon. One took place when a young woman and her boyfriend went in the clinic. “The 40 Days prayer warriors started praying like crazy and eventually the woman reappeared and with her boyfriend told the small group that they had planned on having an abortion but had changed their minds and said it was due to them being there,” said McMahon. “So grateful for the lives saved.”
Bend: The first-ever 40 Days campaign in Central Oregon went very well, with about 40 people signed up, said coordinator Patty Marx “They were real champions for life,” she said. “Several went to the site every day. We even had a family come once a week from Silver Lake, which is quite a distance from Bend.”
She said churches in LaPine, Gilcrest, Christmas Valley, Silver Lake and Sunriver provided seed money to help run the campaign.
St. Helens: Although not outside an abortion facility, the vigils here take place along Highway 30 and have touched many hearts, said coordinator Betty Foll. Among those who have taken notice are school bus drivers and students on the buses, students who walk by on the way to school, Christians and nonbelievers alike from throughout Columbia County, county and community leaders, and multiple churches. Foll said store clerks have shared their pro-life stories after seeing the activity.
“The peaceful, prayerful campaigns do reach those we might never meet in the store or who would never engage in conversations with us,” Foll said. “Many people even told me that they were disappointed when we were not at our prayer vigil! They miss our signs, our smiles, having us wave to them, and just seeing us praying peacefully.”