40 Days For Life

        In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court gave birth to the modern Pro-Life Movement. By a 4-3 vote the Court found a constitutional right to abortion, despite the fact the Constitution itself never says a single word about abortion. The so-called "Pro-Choice" Movement (a group of people who seem to prefer not to mention exactly what kind of choice they have in mind) found it easier to convince four Supreme Court justices than to win the battle in state house after state house.

        Since that time the Pro-Life Movement has tried many methods. Some of them (the overly graphic posters, the splashing of fake blood) have been abandoned. Despite what the Media says, no one in the mainstream of the Movement ever condoned the killing of abortionists.

        These days an organization named "40 Days for Life" has a new slogan: "Pray to End Abortion." I think it sets just the right tone.

        Going on right now there are gatherings near abortion clinics all over the country, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM for 40 days. Here in Danbury Renée and I have been doing so on Wednesdays, from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, several times now joined by members of Immanuel, always joined by our brothers and sisters in Christ from the Roman Catholic Church.

        We're not there to argue or to fight with anyone. We hold a sign with the slogan. Some of us holds candles. At some point we stop to share a devotional reading.

        Most people driving through downtown Danbury ignore us. By the speed of the cars, they have some place important to be. As an aside, more people are on their phones than ought to be.

        One positive thing is the number of people who beep or give us the "thumbs-up" sign. One very encouraging part of this is that these thumbs-up come from people of all races and ages. Some want us to think that the Movement is made up of rich, white suburban Republicans. Anyone who thinks that has not stood in the middle of a town with a Pro-Life placard.

        Of course not all agree. Some of them don’t use a thumbs-up, but prefer a certain single finger that communicates disrespect. Some have argued; we don’t argue back. One waved his fist in the air and yelled, "Pro-Choice." Apart from that euphemism, some yell out "Abortion!"

        Happily the people on the Pro-Life side often come to the gathering and immediately say, "I'm a sinner, too." No one is there to say that abortion is the only sin that gets committed in our nation. But it is one of the sins that has the backing of the Law, as currently misinterpreted. To the extent that laws flow from human justices and legislators, they can be changed.

        The news is good on that front. In 1995 33% of Americans considered themselves to be Pro-Life; 56% were self-identified as Pro-Choice. In 2005 41% called themselves Pro-Life and 51% identified as Pro-Choice. In 2013 48% of Americans identified as Pro-Life, and 45% as Pro-Choice.

        That's good news, because politicians read polls. Long ago the Pro-Life Movement figured out that changing abortion laws wouldn't be achieved by politics. Change in strategy: convince individual people, the politicians will follow.

        And at the most basic level, that effort to change the hearts and minds of individuals happens at the business end of the clinics themselves. Just this week we got the news from 40 Days for Life that a young women drove into the parking lot of Danbury's Planned Parenthood clinic, intending to abort her baby. But she saw the placards, and something (one would think that that "something" is properly called the Holy Spirit) changed her mind, and she chose not to have the abortion. This growing baby is a person who now has the gift of life, who will go on to achieve…what? There's also one more young mother who won’t go through the seldom-mentioned traumas of following through on a decision to terminate a pregnancy.

        Not everything is as it should be. But it's encouraging to see each small step that's taken. I'll agree with 40 Days for Life: Pray to End Abortion.


Pastor Walt