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Ottawa's 40 Days for Life campaign ended with a rally across the street from the Morgentaler abortion facility where prayer vigils were held for 12 hours a day for the 40 day campaign.

40 Days for Life campaign not deterred despite political change in Ottawa

  • November 3, 2015

OTTAWA - As Ottawa’s 40 Days for Life campaign ended Nov. 1, organizers committed to keep the campaign’s momentum going, especially since the election of a Liberal government that refused pro-life candidates.

“Given the uphill battle we face in the coming four years, with a very anti-life cultural and political leadership, we have to maintain a persistent pit-bull mentality,” said Helena Czakowski, who co-ordinated church and ministry group participation in this year’s 12-hour a day prayer vigil in front of the Morgentaler abortuary in downtown Ottawa.

The 40-day campaign ended with a rally of between 50-75 people across the street from the abortion facility and a candlelight procession to St. Patrick’s Basilica.

Czakowski said participation in this year’s campaign “was the best ever,” with 30 churches, mostly Catholic but a few evangelical as well, committing to taking a vigil day or part of one. Four special ministry groups, including NET Ministries Canada, Catholic Christian Outreach and Couples for Christ, also took part. Though she did not yet have a tally of this year’s volunteers, she expects it to exceed last year’s more than 800 vigil participants.

“This is gaining momentum every year,” she said.

She contacted 90 churches and expects many more will be ready to take part next year. “I know word is spreading.”

40 Days for Life began in the United States in 2007 and since then the movement has spread around the world. Campaign Life Coalition researcher Paul Lauzon told the rally this year’s worldwide involved 650,000 volunteers in 579 cities in 30 nations with 3,588 local campaigns.

The movement claims that through the vigil’s presence and prayer since 2007, 10,331 lives have been saved from abortion, 121 abortion workers have quit their jobs and 64 abortion centres have closed, Lauzon said.

“This place behind me is the coldest and darkest place in Ottawa,” said Lauzon. “And some politicians are happy to keep it that way. But we are not here for the politicians; we are here for the lives of the babies, for the souls of the mothers, the fathers and all who work in this macabre industry.”

Doris Gagnon, leader of the Ottawa-Gatineau chapter of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, an organization committed to keeping a prayerful presence outside abortion facilities year round, told the rally she believes the 40 Days for Life campaign saved at least one life this year. There was a pregnant girl who came to the clinic “feeling conflicted,” Gagnon said. “She was asking God to send her a sign.” There were about 10 people praying out in front of the clinic the day she came, Gagnon said. “We handed her a flyer,” and she changed her mind and left. “She’d been praying for that sign.”

Gagnon said that even if lives are not saved, those praying outside the clinics are witnessing “for those little ones who have been abandoned.”

“This is the least we can do,” she said. “At least we can be there at their hour of death.”

Natalie Steiner, 22, on staff with NET Canada, said she only recently became “on fire” about the pro-life movement after her best friend became passionate about spreading the truth about abortion. This was Steiner’s first year participating in 40 Days for Life. She found the experience both beautiful and hard.

“There will be people who will either say ‘God bless’ or they’ll give you the finger,” she said. “It’s also heart breaking because it gives you so much time to reflect on what’s going on.”

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