How has 40 Days for Life changed the pro-life movement?



This is a clip from an episode of Life Report called “Shawn Carney on the State of the Pro-Life Movement.” In this clip I asked 40 Days for Life co-founder Shawn Carney how 40 Days for Life has changed the pro-life movement.

Click the embedded video and it will start at the right place in the interview. This particular topic ends at 6:16.

If you don’t want to watch the 3-minute video, you can read the full transcript below.


Josh Brahm:  So looking back, besides Abby Johnson’s story, how do you feel like 40 Days for Life has changed the pro-life movement?

40dfl_logo_verticalShawn Carney:  The pro-life movement is the greatest cause of our lifetime and the greatest cause in America. Abortion is the greatest injustice that has ever come to American soil. And if the pro-life movement is like coffee, then 40 Days for Life is like espresso. It just adds something to it. It doesn’t replace it by any means.

But it adds to it and it really has served like a shot in the arm for so many people. We’ve seen 550,000 people participate in 40 Days for Life. Our surveys tell us that over 25% of the participants — this is their first pro-life activity. It’s the first thing they’ve ever done in the pro-life movement and that’s really one of the goals of 40 Days for Life.

Before David [Bereit] and I launched this nationally in the fall of ’07, we spoke to a number of pro-life leaders. The first person to support 40 Days for Life was Fr. Frank Pavone. So that helped convince us that maybe we weren’t completely crazy because he thought it would be a good idea.

So as we saw it grow, he and so many others said, “This will be a point of entry for so many people who are on the sidelines or who want nothing to do with this cause, which is so dear to our hearts.” And it has certainly served in that capacity.

The joy of participating in 40 Days for Life is that you get to enter into something. You are entering into a time period, a holy season to pray, to reflect upon yourself, your own spiritual life. To reflect on your community and ultimately, our nation and our world when it comes to the crisis of abortion.

And so, it’s not something that you get to view and then get a wristband or a bumper sticker or a t-shirt — although you can get those things. But it’s something to enter into to participate in.

The greatest stories we’ve seen through 40 Days for Life — yes, we’ve mentioned the 75 abortion clinic workers who have had conversions, the nearly 7,000 babies who have been spared — but it’s the participants. It’s the leaders who have said, “I would have run from the hills from some crazy thing like this.” And yet, they’re the ones that are having a huge impact in their community.

There was a 19-year-old home schooled high school student who got Planned Parenthood thrown out of a business strip in Memphis, Tennessee. There are so many leaders that stepped up, thinking, “Well, I just kind of want to lead a prayer vigil.” And they literally end up transforming their community. In the midst of that, God is transforming their hearts.

Download Full Interview (MP3) | 00:28:00

Life Report trains pro-life people to communicate their views more effectively. Through round-table discussions and interviews with the top experts on the subject, Life Report provides real-world answers to the toughest questions regarding abortion in the 21st century. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Special thanks to Kimberly Carmany for the transcription. Thanks to Andrea Gleiter for helping to edit this post.

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