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40 Days for Life bears good fruit

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Mary Bray, of St. Clement parish, prayed and held a sign outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Auburn Ave. in Clifton during the fall of 2013 as part of the 40 Days For Life prayer vigil. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph

The 40 Days for Life program, a biannual, worldwide prayer vigil to end abortion, operated another successful campaign in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati this fall.

Participants in 40 Days For Life vigils maintain a prayerful presence outside of abortion clinics (Clifton, Sharonville and Kettering in this archdiocese) and attempt to provide information to those interested on alternatives to abortion.

Mary Clark, Cincinnati campaign director for 40 Days for Life, said the vigil’s impact is seen in various ways.

“People passing by in their cars, sometimes you might get something negative but most of the time give thumbs up and thank yous,” she said. “If they can’t be there they’re glad to see someone witnessing to the community.

The most recent 40 Days for Life resulted in at least one confirmed life saved.

“We had a sonographer, a woman who does ultrasounds for a lot of the pregnancy centers, wrote to us to say a girl came to them at Healthy Beginnings after walking by Planned Parenthood,” Clark said. “She saw there were people there and didn’t want to walk in past people… She decided to keep her baby and they were able to help her with other material needs and so on.”

In addition to that confirmed story, Clark related another wherein a young man who’s girlfriend was scheduled for a consultation at Planned Parenthood spoke with 40 Days for Life volunteers. He wanted her to keep the baby and the volunteers put him in touch with a pregnancy center and got him materials to help provide his girlfriend with options.

“A lot of times you don’t know what the outcome is, but people do come up to you,” she said. “They see there’s someone they can talk to and the support that is there.”

Clark stressed that 40 Days for Life participants are not protesters, but rather “pray-ers.” While some portray those praying for life outside abortion clinics as loud or aggressive, Clark said a simple visit can dispel those notions.

“If anyone takes a minute to observe the people who are there for 40 Days, it is prayerful, and I think that has a calming effect,” she said.

This story appeared in the January 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

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