The 40 Days for Life campaign in Toronto was a great success. Five weeks into the campaign, the organizer for 40 Days for Life Toronto reported that at least three babies had been saved.

40 Days for Life is a worldwide campaign that seeks to raise awareness about the evil of abortion through prayer and fasting, a vigil in front of an abortion facility, and community outreach. The Spring 2011 campaign ran from March 9 to April 17. In Toronto, the vigil was held outside the Women’s Care Clinic on 960 Lawrence Ave from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Nicole Campbell, head of the campaign in Toronto, told The Interim about some of the successes.

One girl who was 18 weeks pregnant entered the facility for an abortion while Campbell talked to her boyfriend. Campbell found out that the couple did not want an abortion, but “they were scared to death to tell (their parents),” even though they were Catholics and the boy’s parents were against abortion. Then, the boyfriend received a text message from the girl and ran inside. They came back outside and when Campbell asked what happened, the girl said she made up her mind to have an abortion, but the abortionist said she could not do it today. Campbell asked the girl if she believed in coincidences and suggested that the abortionist’s non-availability might be a sign that she should not have the abortion. Campbell assured the couple that she has never seen an abortionist delay an abortion before: “this is your second chance.” Campbell gave her the number for the Sisters of Life and explained the process of abortion and how traumatic that would be for her. The girl started to cry and “was very grateful” for the help.

Another girl coming for an abortion saw the large banner the group of participants was holding picturing an unborn child. She stopped, started to shake, and then left without entering the facility.

Campbell has also seen young women leaving the abortion facility feeling sick. “You see it all the time” and “a lot of them are throwing up in the bag” provided to them by the facility. Some “can barely walk” and are extremely pale. “And we call this pro-woman?” Campbell asked. One girl walking out with her boyfriend “just started throwing up” and was extremely pale. Campbell came up to talk to the couple. The boyfriend seemed ashamed about what happened. Campbell wanted to give them a pamphlet, but she could not find one and the couple soon drove away in a taxi before she could retrieve one.

The 40 Days for Life campaign at Toronto also reaches out to women who have already aborted their children. “Some of them right away know the gravity of their mistake,” explained Campbell. They offer them information to get into contact with a second chance ministry. While many girls are being lied to, 40 Days for Life participants “offer them hope and healing,” and “try to be Christ to them” and “love them.”

This year, there has been a “really strong presence” at 40 Days for Life. York University Catholics, a Ukrainian Catholic Church and Church of the Holy Redeemer were among some of the groups that have come down to witness. Protestant churches such as the People’s Church and a Mississauga Baptist Church have also been involved. “I’ve been there only once when there was no one there,” said Campbell, comparing it to past vigils when there were times no one stood vigil. However, someone showed up soon afterwards so for perhaps just 15 minutes in total out of the 12 hours daily for five weeks, there was no one praying for women entering the abortion facility. In the past, entire blocks of time were left unfilled.

One reason for this increased presence is that a young man comes to witness five or six hours a day. “He’s very humble” Campbell reported, and is doing it as part of his “Lenten sacrifice.” Admiring the commitment, she says, “he doesn’t take a break.”

There was also good news in Kitchener, Ont., where the 40 Days for Life vigil is being held at the Freeport Hospital where area abortions are committed.

One Wednesday evening a car pulled up behind the prayer zone and a lady emerged and walked toward one of the pro-lifer volunteers who was praying. The volunteer thought it might be another person complaining about the pro-life presence at the hospital, but instead the woman thanked him for the 40 Days for Life witness because it changed her 19-year-old daughter’s mind about having an abortion. “Praise be to God,” she said.