Pro-life activists gathered in front of the downtown Planned Parenthood in Washington on Tuesday, just two blocks from the White House, to kick off the 40 Days for Life campaign. In an effort to raise awareness for the right to life, participants passionately spoke and prayed for all the unborn children who have been stolen from this world from abortion.
Jeanne Monahan, the president of March for Life and Arina Grossu, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, made a few remarks at the vigil. Here’s what Grossu had to say about the 40 Days for Life movement’s efforts:
“I think of the abortion facility as the front lines of the battle," she said. "There’s a lot that could have or should have or is being done to prevent women from coming here and choosing this and feeling this is their only option. But when you’re standing here, you’re the last contact they have before they potentially make a huge decision that will impact their lives forever.”
Sidewalk counseling is an important centerpiece of the movement. In 30 seconds or less, pro-life activists try and convince young women to give their babies a chance at life before they walk into the clinic for their scheduled abortions. As you can imagine, these advocates aren’t exactly greeted warmly by the young mothers or by Planned Parenthood employees, who often see them as a nuisance. This was no exception on Tuesday.
At one point during the solemn vigil, a participant remarked that a Planned Parenthood employee walked out of the building and gave them all the middle finger.
The few times I’ve witnessed these counselors praying in front of the DC clinic, I’ve heard people shout profanities at the pro-life activists and physically threaten them. One counselor once told me that she was physically shoved by one young woman’s boyfriend.
Despite the verbal and sometimes physical violence these sidewalk counselors endure, they are encouraged because the reason they’re standing out there and enduring the ridicule is all worth it.
“A lot of people say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to save a mother and a child from abortion," Grossu said. "We are the village here.”
This is one pro-life village that doesn’t sleep. 40 Days for Life is a presence in 297 cities and 13 countries around the world. The results speak for themselves. Since the campaign began, 40 Days for Life has saved almost 9,000 babies, 101 workers have left the organization, and 57 abortion centers have closed since the movement began.
The 40 Days for Life movement turned ten this year, which means many precious babies did too.