Halfway through Lent, 40 Days for Life is going strong
Posted by Robert Colquhoun on 1 March 2016
Pro-life volunteers offer life-saving alternatives to pregnant mothers and their babies
We are now halfway through Lent 2016 – and that means we’re also halfway through another 40 Days for Life campaign.
This campaign of peaceful, prayerful vigils outside abortion centres has now been happening for 6 years in the United Kingdom. We have local vigils in 7 cities: Cardiff, Birmingham, Leamington Spa, Doncaster, Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow.
Pro-life prayer vigils are organised for 12 hours a day for a 40 day time period over Lent, along with community outreach: taking a positive and upbeat pro-life message to all parts of the community.
In total, several hundred women have decided to keep their babies, often at the very last minute through the peaceful and loving care of pro-life volunteers who have been able to offer tangible help.
And at the time of writing, this Lent in the UK 4 women have changed their mind in Birmingham and one woman has not gone ahead with an abortion in Manchester. Previous campaigns have seen between 20 and 30 women not go ahead with an abortion nationwide over a 40-day period. In total, there are 196 babies who have been saved worldwide through this year's 40 Days for Life prayer campaign (and those are just the ones we know about for sure!)
People from all around the world have been inspired by pro-life volunteers who have publicly witnessed to pray for an end to abortion in the United Kingdom - from as far away as New Zealand, Nigeria, Russia and Colombia. A teacher one day came to our vigil for an hour - to take back a pro-life message to every single pupil in his school.
Your witness can change lives forever.
In Birmingham, the volunteers noticed a woman who was on her way in for an abortion appointment - crying. She chatted with one of the counsellors for a long time, and went home without having her scheduled abortion. Please keep her in your prayers. Some days later, the team heard of another mother who'd chosen life for her baby. "Yet again," Isabel the local leader said, "the couple had their abortion booked but changed their minds at the very last minute."
Many pro-life volunteers have been personally affected by abortion and help mothers facing a crisis pregnancy
As a first time campaign, Glasgow has been breaking new ground. A volunteer said to the Glasgow leader, "This is a major breakthrough for the pro-life movement in Scotland." Another man said, "This is the first time the people of Scotland have had a chance to voice their opinion on this issue in a way that cannot be ignored by the powers that be, it is a historic time for pro-lifers in Scotland."
The leader says their team has been on fire for the pro-life cause in Scotland, and their vigil has been powerful, outside a hospital that spent a quarter of a million pounds on a legal battle to prevent midwives from having any expression of conscientious objection to abortion.
In Cardiff the prayer vigil has been faced with aggressive protesters for years. But this year, a man showed up to say he was sorry for being one of the protestors who harassed prayer volunteers a couple of years ago. Some young men have been unaware of the irony of using threatening language suggesting harassment of women, in front of women volunteers.
The man said three of his children have been aborted, and his aggressive behaviour was a reaction to the hurt he felt over the abortions. A 40 Days for Life campaign can be a vehicle for forgiveness and healing.
In Nottingham, there have been plenty of interactions with people, both positive and negative, all of them raising the profile of abortion services at the hospital, raising awareness of the humanity of the unborn child in the womb. Many people who have come to the vigil have said how much they have enjoyed being together with people from other pro-life groups, and the core team goes from strength to strength.
Wherever you live, this is a chance to get out of your comfort zone, and publicly pray for an end to abortion. Your witness can change someone's mind, or even save a life from abortion. We need to work until no more women cry from the wounds of abortion, and no more babies die.
Robert is the Director of International Campaigns for 40 Days for Life. You can read more about their work at: https://40daysforlife.com