Anchorage to participate in largest international pro-life campaign

40 Days for Life participants pray outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Anchorage in 2009. — Screen capture from youtube.com

By JOEL DAVIDSON

CatholicAnchor.org

The largest international campaign of prayer and fasting to end abortion has grown. Nearly 300 groups in five countries are set to join the upcoming 40 Days for Life effort, Sept. 28 to Nov. 6. In Alaska, the event will take place in Anchorage, where for the fourth straight year participants will peacefully pray and hold signs in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on Lake Otis Parkway.

In past years, about 200 Alaskans have participated in the Anchorage vigil, including a strong showing of area Catholics.

“We have had a lot of involvement from Catholic people,” Anchorage campaign director Haylee Shields told the Catholic Anchor. “We try to reach out to all denominations, but the Catholic people are very consistent in accepting our invitation to be involved.”

Vigils will take place in 48 US states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, England, Spain and, for the first time, Germany and Argentina.

Shawn Carney, national director of 40 Days for Life, announced that the upcoming vigil will be the largest and longest international pro-life effort in history. He encouraged pro-lifers to join nearby campaigns to help pray and fast for an end to abortion.

Over the last four years, the 40 Days for Life campaigns have mobilized 400,000 people in peaceful fasting and prayer for an end to abortion.

A total of 4,313 lives have been reported as spared from abortion due to the prayers and presence of pro-lifers in the campaign — “and those are just the ones we know about,” Carney noted on the group’s Web site.

In Anchorage, director Haylee said at least one baby has been saved as “a direct result of the local campaign” but the impact has also raised community awareness of the reality of abortion in Alaska.

Nationally, 14 abortion facilities closed following local 40 Days for Life campaigns, and 53 abortion workers quit their jobs.

“The campaign is made up of volunteers,” Haylee explained. “The first thing we ask from volunteers is that they would pray. We also have people who will volunteer for standing at the vigil, which is the most visible aspect of the campaign.”

She said the effort is broken down into one-hour time slots, and participants can visit the Anchorage Web site to see the schedule and when volunteers are most needed.

For more information about the 40 Days for Life campaign in Anchorage, contact Haylee Shields at 982-9895 or haylee40daysforlife@gmail.com

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