MANASSAS, Va. -- The pro-life movement has changed over the years with the latest strategy targeting abortion being much less confrontational than in years past.
The new 40 Days for Life campaign involves standing vigil and praying outside abortion clinics. Pro-lifers have been organizing two 40-day vigils each year.
This year, advocates for the unborn will be standing and praying in 247 cities between March 9 and April 17. So far, 400,000 people have joined the cause.
Thousands of Babies Saves
Why for 40 days? Because scripture shows God often brings about transformation during 40-day events.
"When we see the 53 million abortions that have been committed in America, we know we need some transformation," David Bereit, the national director for 40 Days for Life, told CBN News.
Already, the movement has borne fruit.
"We've had 3,599 moms come to us and confirm that they've saved their babies, already hundreds this spring," 40 Days for Life Campaign Director Shawn Carney said.
"We've seen 9 abortion facilities close their doors and go out of business forever," Bereit said. "And we've now seen 43 abortion workers have conversions and leave the abortion industry."
Serving 'The Least of These'
Sherri Jackson, mother of eight in Manassas, Va., always brings two tiny rubber babies to the vigils.
"I have a little brown baby and a little pink baby -- 12-week-old pre-born children that we usually hold as a reminder that we all start small. We all start this small," said Jackson, who is a 40 Days for Life coordinator in Manassas.
"The words of our Lord are 'Whatsoever you do the least of my brothers, that you do unto me,' she added. "And the unborn are the least of our brothers and sisters."
Jackon's husband Tim, who is a campaign director, says the vigils bring about a power.
"I've never had a sense that my prayers are effective like I've had praying outside a facility like this," he said. "We need to get men out here. I'm a retired Marine. We need to get more men out here praying. It works. It has an effect."
40 Days for Life leaders make it a point to credit God for the movement's success.
"When we go, we take the Prince of Peace with us to a place that has no peace, and we pray," Carney said. "And we trust God with the results. That's why it's been successful."
Bereit points out that scripture tells believers to rescue those being led to the slaughter, and now they can do it locally.
"That is where children are being aborted, and that is where we can intercede to save those lives, to protect those mothers and literally to change hearts and minds in our community," Bereit.
Assistant Campaign Director Mike Baldwing emphasized the importance of prayer.
"This campaign, the 40 Days for Life, is all about prayer," he told CBN News. "And it's about allowing God to work through us, through our peaceful vigil, to change hearts."
"It's empowering; it's encouraging," Carney said. "And the people who participate in 40 Days for Life see that they're the ones who are transformed. Their hearts are turned closer to our Lord as they participate."