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Over 16,000 babies saved: 40 Days cofounder explains how pro-life effort measures impact

The international organization uses three categories to identify the effectiveness of its efforts.
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Calvin Freiburger By Calvin Freiburger

Calvin Freiburger By Calvin Freiburger

December 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The international 40 Days for Life campaign touts a tremendous record of having saved more than 16,000 preborn babies since it began in 2007, but how reliable are those figures? 40 Days cofounder David Bereit explained how they were reached on last week’s episode.

40 Days for Life organizes round-the-clock prayer vigils outside of abortion facilities around the world, persistent displays to raise awareness that abortion is not only happening in a community, but that there are community members willing to oppose it. The organization says that since 2007, it has led to the prevention of over 16,000 abortions, the closing of over 100 abortion centers, and the quitting of almost 200 abortion workers.

“There are a lot of good, good intentioned pro-life efforts,” Bereit told Jonathon Van Maren. “But I wanted to make sure if we're going to ask people to invest their time, their talent, and then eventually their treasure, we need to be accountable for whether or not this is producing results ... are we making an impact there? What are conversion rates, etc?”

He explained that the primary hurdle in trying to measure pro-life impact is the fact that the official reporting of abortion data can vary widely by state, with information from the research organization Guttmacher Institute tainted by the institute’s pro-abortion biases and origins as an arm of Planned Parenthood.

So instead “we identified three primary indicators that would demonstrate that we are making an impact,” Bereit explained. “One was reports of lives saved that could be confirmed. So the numbers that I shared, typically what happens is either somebody comes to the pro-life volunteers praying on the sidewalk and says, ‘hey, I'm changing my mind,’ and those people go with that person many times to a pregnancy center or there's some other way of verifying that this person has left and not come back. So that 16 thousand is a cumulative accumulation of those reports.”

“We only measured that which we could verify,” he stressed, noting that 40 Days does not count cases such as women merely canceling appointments if it can’t be confirmed that a woman didn’t simply reschedule.

The group’s second indicator is the number of facilities that close down, which are easier to measure, but 40 Days still takes pains to ensure they aren’t counting facilities that simply move to different locations. Bereit noted that it’s important to “give the credit first to God” and acknowledge other factors that shutter abortion mills, citing the example of a center in Florida that shut down for failure to pay taxes and licensing fees.

The third indicator, which Bereit says came as something of a surprise to 40 Days, is abortion workers who leave the industry. 

“It was when we first started having workers coming to us,” he said. “And it wasn't that they were just fleeing to go work at another abortion facility. They were saying, ‘I'm out, I'm done.’ And when they started coming to us, we realized this is something God is doing in the hearts of people. And so we started working with those workers and helping them.”

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