(LifeSiteNews) — Around the world, Western governments are cracking down on peaceful prayer outside of abortion clinics.
In Canada, “bubble zones” have been set up around most facilities to keep prayer vigils away, with anyone who enters the “zone” subject to arrest.
In England, a Catholic woman has been arrested twice outside abortion clinics for praying silently, in her mind — she was acquitted for the first “offence,” and presumably will face trial again. She isn’t the only one — a priest was also arrested for silently praying near an abortion clinic. In both of these instances, the police made clear that prayer was the issue.
In nearly every anglosphere country, peaceful pro-lifers have been falsely accused of harassment, verbal abuse, and even violence as abortion activists seek to silence any opposition to the killing of children in the womb. This gaslighting has been largely successful.
The campaign against prayer outside abortion clinics has particularly impacted the work of 40 Days for Life, an international movement to bring praying pro-lifers to clinics where babies are being killed — I interviewed 40 Days for Life director Robert Colqhoun on the scope and impact of their work for our podcast sometime ago. Most recently, 40 Days for Life of Glasgow, Scotland, has come under attack. Pro-lifer Rose Docherty explained what is going on — and how what they are facing is part of a broader attack on the rights of pro-lifers and their ability to speak out for pre-born children.
UPDATE (03/07/23): Walgreens won't dispense abortion pills in 20 states
The pressure is paying off. Walgreens' plan to dispense abortion pills nationwide is now in tatters, with the pharmaceutical giant announcing that it won't mail the pills to, or sell them within, 20 states.
The news comes after 20 Republican attorneys general warned CVS and Walgreens that doing so would be in violation of federal law and that they were opening themselves to penalties.
But we can't rest on our laurels with this boycott: Walgreens and CVS will only listen to us when their profits are threatened — we need a HUGE boycott so that blood money they get from selling abortion pills is dwarfed by the profits they lose when pro-life America shops elsewhere.
Even Politico admitted in its reporting that "pressure" from pro-life voters like you helped change Walgreens' plans, so now we're asking you to take the next step: simply share this petition with your friends and ask them to join the boycott.
Walgreens and CVS will begin selling mifepristone — a powerful chemical that kills unborn children in the womb — if pro-life America does not ACT NOW.
Pro-life Americans MUST STOP the widespread sale and distribution of mifepristone by sending a message that only big-box stores will understand: A NATIONAL BOYCOTT OF WALGREENS AND CVS.
Walgreens and CVS are the newest back-door channels for the pro-abortion movement, now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.
Will you act now to STOP abortion drugs from reaching your pharmacy?
Our work in the pro-life movement is FAR from over, especially now that Walgreens and CVS have chosen to push deadly drugs in their stores and in our communities!
SIGN and SEND a message to Walgreens and CVS! This is completely unacceptable!
We must stop abortion from reaching our pharmacies and stop the abortion industry from poisoning our communities — before it’s too late.
These big-box stores respond only to profit. The pro-life movement must enact a national boycott if the abortion industry dares flood our neighborhoods!
SIGN and SEND a strong message to Walgreens and CVS: unless they immediately reverse course, the entire pro-life movement will BOYCOTT their stores!
SIGN NOW and send a clear message!
CVS & Walgreens announce plans to dispense abortion pills after Biden FDA loosens restrictions
What does 40 Days for Life Glasgow do?
In 2015 it was announced by the U.K. Westminster Government that the legislative power over abortion was going to be devolved to the Scottish Government in 2016. This power had until that time been reserved at Westminster in London. Upon hearing this news and in response to a request from 40 Days for Life, members of the Catholic laity of Scotland came together and held its first ever 40 Days for Life Vigil during Lent of 2016.
The site chosen by the vigil leader was outside of the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Govan Glasgow. The QEUH is a National Health Hospital (NHS) facility. It is the second largest hospital in Europe. Most abortions in the United Kingdom are performed in NHS facilities. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Scotland has a population of 5.5 million people. In 2022 it was recorded that the U.K. had reached an abortion total of 10 million babies. Scotland ‘s share of that figure of abortions since 1968, has now passed half a million abortions.
40 Days for Life Glasgow exists to pray publicly for a change in this Scottish culture of death. The vigil takes place outside of the QEUH. It exists in order to offer help and support to anyone experiencing a crisis pregnancy or indeed in need of post abortion syndrome support. It exists to be a visible witness to the fact that a culture of life exists in Scotland. It exists to show that abortion is not good for women or their unborn children. It exists to say publicly, choose life!
The 40 Days for Life Vigil takes place each Lent with the exception of 2020 and 2021 when COVID-19 restrictions were still in operation. The previous year 2020 the COVID “pandemic” was highlighted. That year our 40 Days for Life Vigil had to stop on Day 20 in response to the U.K. prime minister’s call to go home and stay indoors.
In the few days just prior to the COVID-19 announcement our vigil received word that three women had had a change of heart and had decided to continue with their pregnancies.
The following year, 2021 the restrictions were not eased until after Lent. The group decided that they could not allow the year to go by without once again praying publicly for a culture of life and witnessing to that all important offer of help and support to those in need. They held a Twenty Days of ’40 Days for Life in June that year.
Our 40 Days for Life Vigil operates from 8a.m. until 8p.m. each day from Ash Wednesday until Palm Sunday. By the grace of God the response of the Scottish people has sustained our 40 Days for Life throughout the last eight years. So much so that a recent tweet from a pro-abortion group read, “Lent starts next week, you know what that means!”
What sort of people volunteer with 40 Days?
Our volunteers geographically come across the Catholic parishes of the central belt of Scotland. Some of them travel considerable distances. They come from all walks of life. They range in age from in utero to their eighties. There is a solid and almost equal representation of men and well as women of all ages. By the grace of God, for them too rings the cry, “Lent starts next week , you know what that means!’”
What impact has 40 Days made in Glasgow?
The impact of 40 Days for Life in Glasgow has been considerable. It has resulted in the culture of death going all out to oppose it and work to prevent it from taking place.
The culture of death whose influence in Scotland has permeated most of the mainstream political parties, all of the media as well as across the public and private sector has branded and continues to brand the peaceful prayer vigil as a demonstration. This culture calls for it to remove itself to the site of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. The vigil is continually misrepresented in the media as a demonstration which intimidates and harasses women attending the hospital. Routinely charges of intimidation and harassment are levelled against the 40 Days for Life Vigil despite the fact that as a result of a number of Freedom of Information (FOI’s) there has been no evidence to substantiate such allegations. Journalists never press home this fact and ask where is the evidence of intimidation and harassment. The culture of death has a firm foothold in the media.
We, however, as part of our annual 40 Days for Life Vigil, routinely have a pre-vigil courtesy meeting with our local police department.
How is 40 Days being targeted — and why?
There have been moves by local as well as national government to introduce buffer zones in order to censure where offers of help and support can be made to women in difficulty as a result of a crisis pregnancy, or indeed in need of post abortion syndrome support.
Such calls are being driven by the proabortion lobby in the U.K. who operate through agencies such as British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), and more locally in Scotland by BACK OFF SCOTLAND (BOS), a radical feminist group.
Within the hospital itself there is clear evidence of those who oppose the presence of the 40 Days for Life vigil. There is a doctor in the Children’s Hospital, part of the QEUH Campus, who seems to have appointed himself the role of spokesperson for women in Scotland. His name is Dr. Greg Irwin. He is a consultant pediatrician radiologist. He claims to have organized an open letter to the press signed by 76 Consultants opposing the peaceful prayer vigil. He routinely gives interviews to the press and calls at the vigil site to take photos. He was in evidence during the final hour of our most recent vigil with members of BOS taking selfies and sending recorded shots of himself and comments to the new First Minister, Humza Yousaf as well as to the press.
Prior to the appointment of Humza Yousaf, the previous First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appointed an “Abortion Guru” whose remit it was to drive forward buffer zone legislation. We believe that the salary for this post was £62,000 per year.
Sturgeon continually referred to our vigil as a demonstration causing intimidation and harassment. She made reference to it “impeding women” going into the hospital. The vigil stands outside of the hospital grounds across a very busy and noisy main road with a regular and often high volume of traffic. It is noteworthy that it was only following the appointment of the Abortion Guru that 40 Days for Life Glasgow received a call from a mediation group hired by the Scottish government at a further cost of we believe £10,000 to carry out a pre-scoping exercise to see if there was any likelihood of 40 Days for Life taking part in mediation concerning the issue of buffer zones.
After declining this request, 40 Days for Life Glasgow learned that the Scottish government had also tasked a research group called “Rocket Science” whose remit would include interviewing NHS service users and 40 Days for Life vigil participants in order to understand who the vigil participants were and what motivated them. Yet more wasted public expenditure as quite simply it’s not rocket science!
Prior to the resignation of Sturgeon, there were three political “pro-abortion summits” with all of the attendant biased media coverage.
We decline to participate in biased media coverage as it is always sought in reference to buffer zones and demonstrations and allegations of intimidation and harassment. Not one word of the 10 million children who have died because of abortion, not one word of the half million Scottish abortions.
Paradoxically, thanks to Dr. Greg Irwin our poster board messages carrying such information and our offers of help and support have made a few of the front pages and resultant media coverage. A case of God moving in mysterious ways as we would never have been permitted such advertising.
During the final day of our Lenten 40 Days for Life, BOS supporters turned out very early in the morning to bedeck a considerable length of the fence where our 40 Days for Life vigil stands.
Clearly they were of the opinion that our vigil would not stand in front of their feminist posters. The posters carried the usual pro-abortions images and messages. But stand in front of them we did. It was after all Palm Sunday when Our Blessed Lord turned His head against insult and spittle. He marked out the road for us. We knew that we had to walk towards this cross and not away from it.
On a more positive note, we know that we have support from hospital staff as well as members of the public. There are those who wave to us and who give us regular toots on their horns as they arrive/leave work each day.
Indeed, on the final day of this year’s vigil, a member of staff came to the vigil group to express their solidarity with the vigil. They had seen the feminist posters all along the fence. They said, “Thank you for being here. My aunt comes and prays with you. I work in the children’s ward. I can see that you are not going to have an easy day today and I just want to say thank you for what you are doing.” One of many such remarks. So the culture of life and the culture of death are in operation within the walls of the hospital.
Meanwhile outside we continue to watch and pray.
Once our Lenten 40 Days for Life Vigil is over we maintain a weekly one hour every Tuesday when we gather at the vigil site to pray our rosary. Last year Dr. Irwin approached our Tuesday vigil to ask, “why are you stepping up your vigil?” We replied that we did not know what he meant. He said, “Its not Lent.” We explained that we had been there every Tuesday from noon till 1.15p.m. every week for the past seven years.
“Oh, I didn’t know that,” he replied. So much for intimidation and harassment!
Do you see this move against 40 Days as part of a broader trend against pro-life work and peaceful prayer in the UK?
Most definitely. This trend has been in evidence since the implementation of the 1967 Abortion Act. Although in Glasgow there has existed a peaceful prayer vigil outside of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) for the past thirty years.
There is no doubt that this latest surge has been fueled by the overturn of the Roe v. Wade decision in America, but it has been much in evidence over the last 55 years as evidenced by the figure of 10 million abortions.