BRYAN, TX, July 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Before 40 Days for Life became an international phenomenon operating in hundreds of cities around the globe, it was a humble prayer campaign organized by local Texas pro-life activists who were disgusted at the presence of an abortion-providing Planned Parenthood clinic in their community.
Now leaders with 40 Days for Life are hailing the pending closure of that clinic – located in Bryan, Texas – as a sign of the power of prayer, as well as the fact that the momentum is now firmly on the side of pro-life.
Planned Parenthood announced this morning that the abortion-providing facility would be closing, along with two other clinics, thanks to funding cuts pushed through by Republicans. The news came on the same day that Governor Rick Perry signed the state’s new late-term abortion ban into law.
“This is epic news, 15 years in the making!” said David Bereit, the national director of 40 Days for Life. “Thousands of dedicated community members have faithfully prayed and held peaceful vigils outside this abortion center, offered hope and alternatives to turn away prospective Planned Parenthood customers, and educated the community about the harm of Planned Parenthood.
“These efforts, combined with the decisive action of the Texas legislature, have finally brought about this closure that is an answer to prayer,” Bereit said.
Even more than the site of the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign, the Bryan, Texas, Planned Parenthood office may be most famous as the clinic where pro-life activist Abby Johnson worked for eight years as clinic director.
“This is what grace truly looks like,” said Johnson today after hearing about the clinic’s closure. “Knowing that the former abortion clinic I once ran is now closing is the biggest personal victory of my life.”
“From running that facility, to then advocating for its closure, and now celebrating that dream,” she wrote, “shows that my life has indeed come full circle. I am honored to have worked with so many who helped with my conversion and the closure of this facility. We will continue to fight until every abortion clinic in this country has shut its doors.”
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Since leaving the abortion industry Johnson has gone on to found And Then There Were None, a new ministry which has since helped 60 other workers to leave the abortion industry over the last year.
“I was surprised when Abby Johnson walked through our doors back in 2009,” said Bobby Reynoso, executive director of the Coalition for Life, “but today I am not.”
“Victories like these should be expected when a community of faith stands up against the greatest injustice of the day,” Bobby said. “How little was my faith then, but today I'm reminded once again of how great a God we serve.”
That first 40 Days for Life prayer campaign took place outside the Bryan clinic in 2004, and has since grown to involve 575,000 volunteers in 501 cities around the globe. The campaign has been partly or directly responsible for saving at least 7,536 babies from abortion, closing 37 abortion centers, and helping 83 workers to quit their jobs in the abortion industry
“As the birthplace of 40 Days for Life and the place where Abby Johnson resigned after eight years working for America's largest abortion chain, this is a huge victory for the entire pro life movement!” said Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life campaign director.
“Peaceful and prayerful local opposition to abortion is ending abortion from the grassroots up,” he said.