On April 5, the spring 2009 40 Days for Life campaign ended in 135 cities in Canada, the United States, Australia and Northern Ireland. The 24-hour around-the-clock vigil of prayer and fasting was expanded in Canada to include Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg, as well as Ottawa, and smaller Exodus 2009 events – prayer vigils that lasted for a few hours each day or week – were held in Saskatoon, North Bay and elsewhere. Campaign Life Coalition called on pro-lifers across the country to use the opportunity to prepare spiritually for the 2009 National March for Life and to pray for God’s blessing in the continued battle against abortion.
Over the course of the spring campaign, 389 babies were saved, including at least six in Canadian locations. Ottawa had four confirmed baby saves on the first day. As Toronto organizer Nicole Campbell told The Interim, it is impossible to know the exact fruits of such intense prayer, because not everyone will inform the witnesses they have changed their mind. The CLC National News reported that during 40 Days for Life, Aid to Women, a Toronto crisis pregnancy centre, had about twice as many women seeking their assistance as usual.
In the United States, two abortion mills significantly reduced their hours of operation because of lower demand for their services. In Ottawa, the Morgentaler facility called the police to try to stop the 40 Days for Life vigil, but the prayerful witness was allowed to continue, although one woman, Doris Gagnon, was prevented from participating for a week after being erroneously told by an undercover officer that she needed a license to be on the sidewalk.
In the United States, abortionists declared March 10 “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day,” but the Silent No More Awareness Campaign urged men and women affected by abortion to use the day to stand witness to the harm abortion causes. Shawn Carney, spring campaign director for 40 Days for Life, said, “It is our fervent hope that women with abortion appointments on March 10 will see the silent, prayerful witness of others who have walked in their shoes and avoid making a tragic decision that could haunt them physically, psychologically and spiritually for years and years to come.”
The spring 40 Days for Life is the fourth co-ordinated, simultaneous 40 Days for Life effort in the past 20 months and the second in Canada in the past half-year. Carney says more than 200,000 people have prayed and fasted, 1,517 babies have been saved, 17 abortion workers have quit their jobs and three abortion facilities have been closed. Furthermore, as Campbell says, it provides an opportunity to become involved in the pro-life cause; in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto, about half those who came out to pray were not known to local pro-life activists.
The next 40 Days for Life campaign is scheduled for Sept. 23 – Nov. 1.