On Feb. 17, 2021, the 40 Days For Life Campaign will return to San Antonio. The campaign aims to end abortion in San Antonio by asking volunteers to spend an hour or two in silent prayer on the sidewalk outside of Planned Parenthoods. 40 Days For Life starts on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent for many Christians, and they ask the whole community to join them in prayer and fasting, even while not actively on the sidewalk.
According to Tammy Villasenor, the coordinator of the local San Antonio campaign, “40 Days for Life has made a difference here [in San Antonio]. Our volunteers have made extraordinary sacrifices to expose the abortion industry and to protect children and their mothers from abortion.” In the 40 Days For Life press release, the organization shared how much of a difference their campaigns have made in the last 14 years. The first campaign in San Antonio in 2007 saw a 40% reduction in abortions. The new Sidewalk Intern Program, implemented in 2020, provides 50 life-affirming gift bags a week to clients entering the abortion facility. In addition to this, the spring campaign for 2021 already has 596 registered volunteers contributing hundreds of hours of service.
Cathy Nix, the program director of San Antonio’s 40 Days For Life Campaign, encourages everyone who supports the pro-life movement to volunteer just an hour of their time on the sidewalk. “Each prayer, each person matters in this fight for the protection of the unborn. Grab a friend, set an hour, and then just go! Imagine that there was a toddler in the street, and they were going to get hit if you didn’t step in and save them. Your prayers and your presence save lives just as sure as this. 40 Days for Life is the most effective pro-life campaign ever. It is peaceful, it is prayerful, and it is very successful. We would love to see you out there as part of the solution – the beginning of the end of abortion. Don’t be afraid! God will truly bless your efforts,” Nix said.
40 Days For Life is a peaceful “non-denominational initiative that focuses on 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and grassroots educational outreach,” according to the campaign’s press release. Rather than antagonizing or harassing Planned Parenthood workers or clients, the 40 Days For Life “campaign will feature a peaceful 40-day prayer vigil in the public right-of-way outside Planned Parenthood at 2140 Babcock Rd.” To avoid confrontation and to ensure that the campaign remains as peaceful and effective as possible, “All prayer vigil participants are asked to sign a statement of peace, pledging to conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner at all times.”
However, 40 Days For Life is not the only group to lead pro-life campaigns on the sidewalk. According to Nix, “Other groups come to the sidewalk and do things differently. 40 Days for Life doesn’t own the sidewalk, so the public right of way is sometimes occupied with abortion victim signs or people with bullhorns. This is not OUR way, but freedom of speech is a right, and it works both ways. When faced with this challenge, we usually keep our distance and continue to do what we have come to do.” When asked about the 40 Days For Life campaign, Nix said that “Only trained Sidewalk Advocates and Interns are supposed to speak to the clients. The Prayer Partners are silent, and they sometimes hold signs that say, ‘Pray for an end to abortion.’ This is what we do… Often when others see the effectiveness of the 40 Days for Life model, they come and join us. It is best to lead by example.”
“40 Days for Life has generated proven life-saving results since its beginning in 2004 in Bryan/College Station, Texas,” said Shawn Carney, president of 40 Days for Life. “During 26 previously coordinated campaigns, over 1000 communities have participated in this effort. More than 1,000,000 people—representing some 20,000 churches—have committed to pray and fast. And we know of over 17,000 unborn children whose lives were spared from abortion during 40 Days for Life campaigns.”
On Feb. 13, 2021, from 3:00-4:00 pm, 40 Days For Life is holding a socially-distanced opening rally featuring an opening and closing prayer from Bishop Emeritus Michael Pfieffer, as well as a talk from pro-life speaker Joe Calver on the “Role of Men as Pro-Life Advocates.” The rally takes place at 2202 Babcock Rd 78229.
For information about 40 Days for Life in San Antonio, visit: http://www.40daysforlife.com/SanAntonio.
For assistance or more information, please contact Catherine Nix at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210)668-1993.
Cover image taken and provided by Angelique Lopez.