By Anne Marie Amacher
For 40 days, beginning Sept. 23, pro-life supporters across the United States will pray for the reduction of and an end to abortion. The 40 Days for Life campaign began in Texas in 2004 and went nationwide in 2007. More than 200 cities will host campaigns this year.
In the Diocese of Davenport, Jefferson County Right to Life and the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants in the Quad-City area will participate in the event Sept. 23-Nov. 1.
Karen Crossland of St. Mary Parish in Fairfield, an officer with Jefferson County Right to Life, said in addition to 40 days of prayer and fasting, the pro-life group will host four other activities.
A kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, in the Fairfield Public Library featuring speaker Kim Lehman, executive director of Iowa Right to Life in Des Moines. A recognition of the half-way mark will be held Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at the library. Rachel Owen, executive director of Choices Medical Center in Iowa City, will speak. On Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m., a pro-life movie will be shown at the library. The 40 Days campaign will wrap up at 2 p.m. Nov. 1 in the library with a guest speaker from Heartland Pregnancy Center in Ottumwa.
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” Crossland said. “40 Days has had a great impact with people praying.”
She noted that organizers at the national level have heard of employees at abortion facilities walking away from their jobs and abortion facilities closing. “It’s the power of prayer,” Crossland said.
As part of 40 Days for Life, people are asked to pray for the reduction of and an end to abortion. The goal is to have prayer going on 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 40 days.
In Fairfield, people are asked to pray for an hour at a time at the corner of Second and Burlington streets. “We have permission to pray at that corner from the owners,” she said.
Visibility at that corner is good, which means people can observe others praying for the end to abortion. Banners with the 40 Days logo will be present and Crossland hopes to have pro-life posters available.
She hopes to have at least one person at the intersection from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the campaign. Those unable to be at that location are encouraged to pray at home.
In Bettendorf, people are being asked to pray for one hour outside the Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa’s clinic in Bettendorf, said Jeanne Wonio of St. Paul the Apostle Parish. She is a member of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.
When the clinic is open Monday through Friday and the third Saturday of the month, she hopes to have people praying outside on the sidewalk. For those who cannot, she encourages them to pray at home.
“I hope to see individuals, families, youth groups and school groups fill in those hours at the site,” Wonio said. “We offer a peaceful, prayerful presence when we walk outside the clinic.”