.- The 40 Days for Life Campaign launched its 179-city fall program on Wednesday in South Bend, Indiana. The community-based campaign will last until November 2, focusing upon prayer and fasting, educational outreach, and round-the-clock peaceful vigils outside abortion clinics or Planned Parenthood centers.
Local versions of the campaign are taking place in 47 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and two Canadian provinces, a campaign press release reports.
“During an election season in which abortion has emerged as a critical – and potentially decisive – issue, people across the nation need to be made aware of the reality of what abortion does to women, men, children, communities and our nation,” said David Bereit, national campaign director of 40 Days for Life.
Bereit said the campaign could have a “profound effect” on the country.
“With abortion in the forefront of the national debate during this heated political season, people of faith and conscience are coming out to 40 Days for Life kick-off events and getting involved in local campaigns in record numbers,” he commented. “I am seeing a greater sense of urgency to end abortion in America right now than I have seen in the last decade.”
Bereit told CNA on Wednesday that the campaign was scheduled to begin with a 7 p.m. event at Little Flower Catholic Church in South Bend, Indiana, which was the first city to have a group registered for the campaign.
Bereit was scheduled to address attendees, joined by local campaign organizers and Dr. Charles Rice, a University of Notre Dame law professor.
He said key to the event was “upon its conclusion, we will be commencing the round-the-clock vigil outside South Bend’s abortion clinic, 960 hours straight.”
He said “aggressive community outreach” would also be a feature of the local campaign.
Bereit, writing in a press release, underlined that the 40 Days for Life campaign does not endorse candidates and does not campaign against anyone seeking elected office.
“I am convinced that the change in the abortion status quo will begin as a spiritual change,” he continued. “That spiritual change will then be reflected in the political realm, as elected officials will recognize the will of the people and respond accordingly to protect the life of every human – born and pre-born.”
Bereit claimed that the fall 2007 and spring 2008 campaigns had generated “lifesaving results,” noting that targeted cities reported a significant drop in abortions, while some targeted abortion clinics either closed altogether or scaled back their operations during the campaign.
“New volunteers got active in local pro-life efforts,” Bereit remarked. “Churches of different denominations worked together to work for an end to abortion in their cities. Many post-abortive women begin programs to heal from the pain caused by previous abortion experiences. With such a strong track record of results, we are excited to see what God has in store for this fall.”
The 40 Days for Life web site is located at www.40daysforlife.com.