Pro-life campaign saves 676 unborn babies, leaders say

During the 40 Days for Life United tour against abortion, several volunteers and spectators wrote personal messages on the side of the bus. (Courtesy/Facebook)At least 676 mothers were swayed from aborting their babies by volunteers on the 40 Days for Life international campaign and its concurrent bus tour that ended Nov. 6, according to the campaign's preliminary tally.

Major campaign sponsor Pro-Life Action Ministries of St. Paul, Minn., estimated 676 lives had been saved, based on reports from volunteers who conducted fasts and held prayer vigils outside 367 abortion facilities in 270 U.S. cities and more than 20 foreign countries.

"The numbers are reported by our local leaders and volunteers," 40 Days for Life North American Campaign Director Steve Karlen told Baptist Press. "There are a variety of ways leaders learn of babies saved from abortion. Perhaps the most typical is when a woman leaves the abortion center and thanks the on-site volunteers for being there to change her mind."

A new feature of the 2016 campaign was the 40 Days for Life United bus tour that made stops at Planned Parenthood facilities in 127 U.S. cities, beginning Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C., and ending Nov. 6 in Richmond, Va. 

"The greatest blessings of the tour were seeing unprecedented hope and enthusiasm from pro-lifers across the country," Karlen said. "We saw consistently large crowds at the 127 cities we visited. People traveled from miles away to join our rallies—many of them who have never been involved in pro-life activism before.

"And most importantly, we saw thousands upon thousands of Americans commit to praying and taking peaceful action for an end to abortion," Karlen said.

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 worked with at least five other national ministries and numerous city and state pro-life coalition groups in conducting the bus tour.

Other sponsors of the 17,000-mile tour were 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.

Volunteers shared stories of mothers who made last-minute decisions to carry their babies to term, including a mother in Pittsburg.

"I went in for an abortion today, but decided not to," the mother said, according to a Nov. 7 report from a volunteer in Pittsburg who was praying outside a Planned Parenthood with three others. "Because of you being here, I learned the truth," a passerby told the group, the volunteer said.

The next 40-day campaign is set to begin Dec. 1, PLAM said. Volunteers interested in participating may register for email updates at 40DaysforLife.com.

Several 40-day campaigns are observed each year, the most recent one held Feb. 10-March 20 in 273 locations, including the U.S. and 24 foreign countries. In that campaign which drew 120,000 participants from 4,700 churches, PLAM said, 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.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP (bpnews.net) reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally. 

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