There’s something new in the battle over abortion. However, in one sense, it’s not new at all.
It’s a secret weapon—although it’s not that secret.
It’s organized prayer and fasting against abortion.
“Oh, is that all?” “What’s new about that?”
There’s a relatively new outreach that has been organizing peaceful prayer vigils (but I repeat myself)—around the clock—in front of abortion clinics. It’s called “40 Days for Life.” They organize a 24-hour, seven-day a week commitment to prayer for forty days in a row in select cities. (In rough urban areas, where it might be dangerous for a couple of praying people to be out all night, they change the 24-hours to 12-hours.)
David Bereit is the National Director of 40 Days for Life. He notes, “We’ve had now eight nationally coordinated campaigns that each of those is made up of local campaigns. There have been 1,382 local campaigns that have taken place in 387 cities, and that’s been in all 50 American states, as well as Canada, Australia, England, Ireland, northern Ireland, Spain, Denmark, the country of Georgia, Armenia and Belize.”
Based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, this organization has seen incredible results since they began in 2004.
They claim that, so far, at least 4,313 would-be aborted babies (that they know of) have been saved from the procedure. That’s 4,313 babies, presumably bringing joy to their mothers right now.
They claim that 53 clinic workers have had a change of heart because of the vigils and have left the abortion field as a result.
The most famous of these is Abby Johnson, former director of the Planned Parenthood clinic of Bryan, Texas. When she saw a sonogram of an abortion, she walked away from the business. She had no idea where to go or what to do. But she saw the pro-life people silently praying in front of the clinic she directed and sought them out. She has since written a book about her whole change of heart—Unplanned.
40 Days for Life also claims that, thanks to their efforts, 13 abortion clinics have shut down. Again, this is all because of peaceful prayer vigils, around the clock for 40 days in a row in select cities.
It may be just a coincidence that these clinics closed their doors during or after the 40-day long prayer meetings. On the other hand, someone once described a coincidence as a miracle where God chooses to remain anonymous.
Bereit noted that the time is ripe for change in America’s view of abortion. “So we’re seeing the abortion industry on a rapid decline right now, and if ever there were a time for people of faith and conscience to take action to do something to speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves, I really believe that time is right now.”
There indeed may be a shift in Americans’ views in this area. For example, a recent Gallup poll conducted in May 2011 found that 51% of Americans believe abortion is “morally wrong,” while 39% view it as “morally acceptable.”
When it comes to opposition to publically funded abortion, then the percentage goes ups even higher. There are many Americans who identify themselves as pro-choice, but oppose their tax-dollars’ paying for it. They think, “If you want to have an abortion, that’s your business—but don’t make me pay for it.”
There are now more pro-life pregnancy centers providing free services for women with unwanted pregnancies than there are clinics where they do abortions. Bereit says, “In most communities in America there are now Christian pregnancy help centers, and there are 2,300 of these now; whereas, the abortion industry is down to 672.” Of course, there are far more abortions that take place in those 672 clinics than babies that are saved in the 2,300 centers.
When you look in the yellow pages under abortion, it’s often a mix between pregnancy centers (offering pro-life alternatives to abortion) and abortion clinics. How do you tell the difference between the two? My friend Janet Folger Porter says that’s easy. Just look for the credit card logos. The abortion clinics have them; the pregnancy centers don’t. One is a business; the other is charity, all funded by volunteer donations.
Abortion is often just about money. And lots of it. But it has been, is now, and always will be blood money.
Thankfully, groups like 40 Days for Life may well be helping to change the landscape in America when it comes to abortion, one prayer at a time.