Pro-Life Activism

40 Days for Life: Call to the front lines

Last fall, pro-lifers in 89 American cities united for the first nationwide 40 Days for Life prayer vigil outside abortion businesses. Now, many more are ready to get out on the streets!

The first national 40 Days for Life campaign sent shockwaves throughout the abortion industry, prompting Planned Parenthood to send out a flurry of “crisis” e-mails, news releases and fundraising appeals.

As the CEO of one Planned Parenthood affiliate wrote, “Planned Parenthood is under attack and we need your help to fight back! RIGHT NOW, THE LARGEST ANTI-CHOICE PROTEST WE’VE SEEN IN A VERY LONG TIME is taking place. An extremist group and its 40 Days for Life campaign has launched a relentless attack on Planned Parenthood health centers.”

Planned Parenthood’s national president, Cecile Richards, wrote to abortion advocates around the country: “The war against Planned Parenthood and the women we serve continues. The anti-choice people have just begun their ‘40 Days for Life’ campaign and you can imagine what that means. Right now, there are picketers outside . . .more than 80 Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, 24 hours a day for 40 days. They’re claiming it’s ‘the largest and longest simultaneous pro-life mobilization in American history.’” Two weeks later, Richards followed up, calling 40 Days for Life a “crisis” and pleaded: “We’ve been at this work for more than 90 years and if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s when to ask for help. And it’s now. We need your help right now.”

If Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion chain, felt that much heat from pro-lifers peacefully praying around the clock for 40 days, then clearly we’re onto something.

Pro-lifers ready for victory

In the final hours of the 2007 campaign, I had just finished speaking at an event in Fargo, North Dakota, when a young man named Patrick rolled over to me in his wheelchair and said, “I hope you aren’t offended by this, but we simply can’t stop!”

Patrick’s enthusiasm was contagious. Everyone standing around immediately voiced agreement and talked about ways to keep the momentum building—across their state and throughout America—long after the end of last fall’s campaign.

I understand Patrick’s no-quit attitude and fully embrace it. The abortion industry thinks that we are going to fade away. They fully expect us to settle back into complacency, leaving them free to continue their deadly business without hindrance. Don’t let that happen. The momentum of 40 Days for Life must go on.

Pro-lifers in more than 60 American cities and 20 other countries now want to conduct 40 Days for Life campaigns. Thus, after hearing from several thousand people, we have decided to hold two large-scale coordinated 40 Days for Life campaigns this year. The Lenten vigil begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 6, and the fall campaign begins on Wednesday, Sept. 24. By joining God in His work, you can make a lifesaving impact. Indeed, you will play a vital role in ending abortion in America. We invite you to join either—or both—of the 40 Days for Life campaigns in 2008. Learn more and get involved at

As the apostle Saint Matthew tells us, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

Find Planned Parenthood centers

American Life League provides a web tool to help pro-lifers conduct peaceful activities in front of each Planned Parenthood location across the nation. The ALL Map Room is a web page that includes a map of the United States with the locations of Planned Parenthood’s 855 clinics. It lists the pro-life efforts at Planned Parenthood centers nationwide and key info for joining existing activities or starting new ones. Marie Hahnenberg, researcher and director of the Map Room project, said, “Our research shows that there are currently 122 regularly scheduled pro-life events being held outside 103 Planned Parenthood sites in 34 states. We expect that number will climb as more focus is directed to the importance of local activism.”

To get started, visit

2007 campaign results

Last fall, the first national 40 Days for Life campaign took place in 33 states across America and the results were staggering:

  • More than 100,000 people prayed and fasted for 40 days
  • More than 22,000 people prayed peacefully outside Planned Parenthood centers and other abortion businesses
  • More than 340 innocent children were saved from abortion; therefore, some 680 mothers and fathers were spared from a lifetime of regrets
  • Hundreds of men and women began to find post-abortion healing
  • The presence of prayer volunteers inspired two abortion workers to quit their jobs
  • Over 150 news stories appeared across America
  • Thousands of people volunteered in prolife work for the first time
  • Hundreds of new, young leaders were educated, equipped and empowered
  • People of faith and conscience gained a renewed sense of hope that abortion can—and will—end in America.

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About the author

David Bereit

David Bereit is the founder and former CEO of 40 Days for Life, as well as the former executive director of American Life League.