40 Days for Life Leader: Pro-Lifers Must Look Beyond Elections and Focus on Making a Local Impact
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - "With the defeat of pro-life ballot initiatives in Colorado and South Dakota, the election of an ardent abortion advocate for president, and an increase in the number of abortion proponents in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, some pro-lifers may feel a sense of despair today," David Bereit, national campaign director of 40 Days for Life, said yesterday. "However,” he continued, “we have every reason to be optimistic about the profound pro-life shift that is beginning to take place below the radar."
From September 24 through November 2, intensive 40 Days for Life campaigns were conducted in more than 175 communities in 47 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa and two Canadian provinces. For 40 days, people of faith and conscience prayed, fasted, held peaceful vigils outside abortion facilities, and conducted grassroots pro-life outreach. Tens of thousands of people participated in this history-making initiative.
"The facts speak for themselves," said Bereit. "More than 540 times during this fall’s campaign, women who were arriving for abortions changed their minds and decided to keep their babies as a direct result of the 40 Days for Life volunteers praying outside the abortion center. We are also aware of a number of clinic employees who experienced a change of heart and quit the abortion business due to this effective pro-life outreach, and many abortion centers cut back hours or closed for entire days during 40 Days for Life."
Bereit said the life-saving impact of this effort cannot be attributed to any elected leader or law. "It was the result of people putting their faith into action right where they live," he said. "We have now heard from people all across North America that the conclusion of 40 Days for Life was not an end, but merely a new beginning for ongoing local pro-life efforts that will continue to save lives regardless of who holds elective office. We look forward with great anticipation to the next national 40 Days for Life campaign." That campaign is scheduled to begin February 25.
“This fall, a political battle was lost," concluded Bereit, "but hundreds of lives were won. I am convinced that those victories will have far greater impact."