40 Days for Life

The following is a story of one of the 89 cities that participated in the historic 40 days of constant prayer in front of an abortion center. It was a huge success with hundreds of babies saved, hundreds of new pro-lifers and the renewed zeal of others who had become complacent.

A Washington Archdiocese Success Story
By Dick Retta, St. Raphael Parish, Rockville, MD.

On a recent Sunday, a Rosary Procession of 45 excited, joyful pro-lifers marched from St. Matthew’s Cathedral on Rhode Island Avenue to the Planned Parenthood abortuary at 16th and L Street NW to celebrate the end of the highly-successful Washington area 40 Days for Life campaign. Three hundred pro-lifers from about two dozen parishes had maintained a constant, 40-day, non-stop, 24/7 prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood facility.  Attracting mostly area youth, it was one of the most exciting displays of love and support for the unborn ever seen in the Washington area.  

The campaign, part of a national campaign involving 89 cities and 35 states, began on Sept 25, 2007, with a kick-off rally at Farragut Square in downtown Washington attended by 150 inspired and motivated, pro-lifers.  The rally included a candlelight procession with, banners and flags, singing as they marched to the Planned Parenthood facility a few blocks way.  As they arrived, participants fell to their knees chanting the Divine Mercy Chaplet, an awesome and moving sight.

Their focus on this abortuary in the heart of the business district, two blocks from the White House, brought attention to Planned Parenthood’s flagship abortion site.  No other abortion mill in the country is located in such an upscale neighborhood.  Many business people pass by each day, not realizing abortions are being performed in the small, obscure building next to a Special Arts school for children, surrounded by large office buildings and across the street from the Russian Embassy, the University Club and the Hilton Hotel.     

Pro-lifers handed out literature to passersby and women entering the site for surgical abortions, RU486 chemical abortions, Plan B emergency contraception, artificial contraception and other services provided by Planned Parenthood.  Literature included alternatives to abortion, the harmful physical, emotional and spiritual effects of abortion, and information on help provided by the Gabriel Network of the Washington DC Archdiocese, local Crises Pregnancy Centers and St. Anne’s Helpers for Life, a new organization providing continued support to the mothers beyond the support period of existing organizations while not duplicating the support they offer.

The campaign started with Washington Post-newsworthy excitement as abortions at the Planned Parenthood facility immediately ceased when it closed for a half-day.  The cause was a small, innocent suitcase, containing dozens of rosaries and pro-life literature which had been left unattended.  Police and fire equipment were called to the scene while nearby buildings were evacuated.  A false alarm, but, babies’ lives were spared, at least for that day and maybe forever.   

Causes for celebration included the 300 pro-lifers who participated in the campaign, the reduction in abortions noted, and the 67% increase in the number of women who changed their minds about having an abortion. One abortion facility worker quit her job, saying she couldn’t work there anymore.
National success stories were equally exciting as thousands of mostly young enthusiastic pro-lifers participated across the country. 


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