As Planned Parenthood marks its centennial, pro-life advocates are participating in the international 40 Days for Life campaign billed as the largest such mobilization in U.S. history.
A 40 Days for Life United bus tour is a new addition to the 2016 campaign that will include vigils in 367 locations in 270 U.S. cities and more than 20 foreign countries, major campaign sponsor Pro-Life Action Ministries (PLAM) of St. Paul, Minn., said at 40daysforlife.com.
The United tour will make stops in more than 125 cities, including several in Florida, to hold rallies and prayer vigils that will encourage Christians to stand together for the sanctity of life across the nation, 40 Days for Life president Shawn Carney said in a press release.
"Since 40 Days for Life started in 2007," Carney said, "we have recognized that although abortion is a national problem, it does not happen in the White House, in Congress or in the Supreme Court. Abortion takes place in hometowns across America—and it will end, and is ending, in hometowns across America, one by one."
The interdenominational campaigns began nearly 10 years ago with vigils outside abortion clinics in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and have grown to include all 50 states. Each city-based 40 Days for Life campaign is distinguished by 40 days of prayer and fasting, community outreach and a "constant, peaceful vigil in the public right-of-way outside abortion facilities" PLAM said. The group is working with at least five other national ministries and numerous city and state pro-life coalition groups in conducting the bus tour, which began Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C, and runs through Nov. 6 in Virginia.
Steve Karlen, 40 Days for Life North American campaign director, said the tour is evidence of unity in the fight against abortion.
"People of faith sometimes feel alone in their efforts to end abortion," Karlen said. "We are all in this together—and with God's blessings, abortion in this country will come to an end."
Already in the current campaign, PLAM said it has received reports of 264 babies being saved from abortions their mothers had planned to have.
Several 40-day campaigns are observed each year, the most recent one held Feb. 10-March 20 in 273 locations, including the United States and 24 foreign countries. In that campaign which drew 120,000 participants from 4,700 churches, PLAM said at 40daysforlife.com, 631 lives were saved from abortion, six abortion workers left the industry, three abortion facilities closed.
The campaign's length is based on God's use of 40-day periods to transform individuals and communities, including the flood of Noah's era, Moses' recording of the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai, and the period between Christ's resurrection and ascension.
Since 2007, more than 700,000 individuals from 18,500 churches have participated in vigils in 636 cities and 36 countries, preventing at least 11,796 babies from being aborted, leading to 133 workers leaving the abortion industry and seeing 73 abortion facilities end their practice, PLAM said.
Other tour sponsors are March for Life, Heartbeat International, Silent No More Awareness, Students for Life and Susan B. Anthony List, along with numerous city and state pro-life coalition groups, including many Southern Baptists, PLAM said.
The complete schedule of vigils and participation information are available at 40daysforlife.com.