Stories of Heartbreak, Triumph at '40 Days for Life'

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DENVER -- Pro-life organizations play different roles in the effort to end abortion in our country. One group, 40 Days for Life, has committed to praying and standing vigil outside the second largest Planned Parenthood clinic in the country.

Those who have gathered at 40 Days for Life vigils, like the one in Denver, spend most of the time praying.

"It gives you an actual concentrated, dedicated way to come and pray," 40 Days for Life Denver's Annette Bryce told CBN News.

But every once in a while you'll hear a heartbreaking story, like the one a young man shared with Bryce at a vigil.

"He said, 'My girlfriend had an abortion because she said I couldn't marry her because I didn't have a job. And I told her that I would still find a way and support her and save the baby. And she had an abortion. The next day, I got a job,'" Bryce recalled.

Some attendees, like Silent No More coordinator Julie Averill who's had three abortions, said they're trying to save women from making the same mistake they did in aborting their own children.

"Women are naturally nurturing...mothers," Averill said. "There's always that hole when you aborted a child or terminated a pregnancy."

"You can live for years and deny it and try to bury it and go through your life and do 'normal' things, and live a pretty normal life," she continued. "But it's always buried; deep-seated, deep down, where you never get over it."

But there are also sweet stories of success, like that of one woman in Monsignor Bernard Schmitz's own Mother of God parish.

"She was considering an abortion," he recalled. "She heard a prayer for an end to abortion and for protection of human life and decided not to abort the child."

Rosalinda Lozano, 40 Days for Life's Denver coordinator, said one such change of heart sticks in her memory. It involved a woman named Angelica who was secretly pregnant and had told no one she was getting an abortion.

"Sunday night her mother called her and said, 'Angelica, please, do not do anything to that baby,'" Lozano recalled.

"She said, 'I have prayed to our Lord and when you get to that clinic' -- and she'd never told her mother she was coming - 'When you get to that clinic you will see people praying for you and those people were sent by God,'" she continued.

"And she said, 'When I came around the corner on Monday, I saw you kneeling down and praying,'" Lozano said.

Angelica had her baby. Such stories keep many of these prayer-warriors coming back.

"I feel like it gives the women hope when they see us out here praying, when they know that we're here giving of our time for them. I think it makes a difference," Lozano said.

Bob Gilson, coordinator for 40 Days for Life in Boulder, Colo., agreed.

"It's enormous," he said. "You know, there's no judiciary or police force that can stop a prayer."

Gilson said if believers knew the affects their prayers could have, many more would attending the 40 Days for Life vigils nearest them.

"There are babies' lives being lost," he said. "There are women suffering from it. There are people who have had abortions, lose relationships, have trouble with substance abuse, or suicides; the list goes on and on."

There's still plenty of time left for those who want to join in. The 40 Days campaign continues through the Sunday just before Election Day.

As a result of the 40 Days for Life vigils, some 6,000 babies have been saved, about 70 abortion workers have quit their jobs, and a couple dozen abortion facilities have closed down.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at