SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC HERALD
With New York’s passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which permits abortion to the moment of birth, many more individuals are asking what can be done in response. 40 Days for Life is a life-saving prayer campaign that will take place throughout the archdiocese, beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 6, and concluding on Palm Sunday, April 14. 40 Days for Life is comprised of 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities and educational outreach with the goal of protecting mothers and their unborn children from abortion. According to 40 Days for Life, more than 15,000 children have been saved from abortion during these twice-a-year campaigns.
At 10 a.m. March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, Campaign Director Steve Karlen and Campaign Strategist Chris Davis from 40 Days for Life will join participants in prayer at Planned Parenthood, 3601 Roosevelt Road, Kenosha.
According to Karen Mathis, Kenosha 40 Days for Life Coordinator, 350 babies in Racine and Kenosha lose their lives to abortion each year. She is looking forward to Karlen and Davis offering prayerful encouragement at the abortion referral center.
“Those who pray on a regular basis at the facility always appreciate a word of encouragement from those who have the ‘whole picture’ as do these men who are so passionate about an end to abortion in our local communities,” she said.
Mathis, who is new to the Kenosha area, said she became involved with the pro-life movement after listening to Joe Scheidler, the founder of Pro-Life Action League, speak at a local convention.
“I saw him point his finger at me and all present, saying, ‘When you stand before your Father on Judgment Day, how will you answer him when he asks what you did for the least of his?’” she said. “That tiniest one who cannot speak for himself, is one of the least in God’s Kingdom. The eternal welfare of each of our souls is at stake in this great battle for life.”
While Mathis and her husband have contributed to numerous pro-life organizations and participated in prayer at abortion facilities in three states, she is most impressed by the international mission of 40 Days for Life and the effectiveness of witnessing men and women change their minds on abortion, leave the abortion facilities and choose life for their unborn child. Campaigns are now in hundreds of cities in dozens of countries across all six populated continents.
“Last fall, for the first time, I finally answered the call and attempted to recruit people to pray and fast for the 40-Day vigil in Kenosha,” she said. “This Spring 2019 campaign is my second effort to have others know about the facility here and solicit people to pray at some time during the vigil. We have committed to a 12-hour day, praying at the facility from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., beginning on Ash Wednesday.”
Those interested in praying in front of Planned Parenthood are invited to sign up through the 40 Days for Life website. Mathis said it’s difficult to predict the number that will come, but she recommends that at least two come together and join the regulars that have prayed in front of the facility for the past 10 or more years.
“Many parishes have committed to publish the prayer vigil, which includes fasting this Lent,” she said. “It results in a deeply spiritual experience when one participates. Knowing that over 750,000 are doing the same worldwide at many abortion facilities and hearing all of the babies saved is very inspiring.”
In addition to a physical presence at the abortion facilities, Mathis is encouraged by the number of those behind bars that have committed time to praying for the unborn.
“We have had prisoners from six states participating in prayer and fasting where they are, holding their mission to God as they give up their meal to another and spend time in prayer,” she said. “Their prayers and sacrifices are precious to us, for sure.”
Deception surrounds the abortion industry, Mathis said, as those entering the facilities are not fully informed about the effects of Plan B, the morning after pill, RU486 and contraceptives. While the Kenosha Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer surgical abortions, they do refer clients to a facility that does.
“Disposing of human life, whether it begins in the first few weeks or weeks later, is still the death of a child, and human life begins at conception,” she said. “Also, as part of a biracial family, I am deeply grieved that the population of black people is being diminished by abortion at a phenomenal rate.”
While it is impossible to predict the future of abortion in the world, Mathis said thinking about it recalls the many forces involved in the abortion industry, and many fronts to attack in defending life.
“We dare not say abortion will be outlawed for the nation. As long as there is a market for baby parts and such big dollars are gained in that sale in the process of procuring those ‘specimens,’ someone will find a way to exploit those precious lives one way or another,” she said. “Evil will attempt to prevail. But all things are possible with God. Our prayers are not in vain. Whenever a woman hears a pro-life advocate telling her the truth about the procedures she comes to Planned Parenthood for, whenever a man stands up to protect his child and the woman, whenever an abortion worker sees the real effect of his or her work, that is when abortion is outlawed — in that heart, one by one. This is the real change needed in our country.”
IF YOU WANT TO HELP
40 Days for Life
March 6 through April 14
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Questions? Contact Karen Mathis: 888-611-2167