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40 Days for Life members give up time and food for campaign

40 Days for Life member, Deb Grover, sticks a pro-life sign across the street from Planned Parenthood before taking part in a prayer vigil.
Two women stand on their sectioned-off piece of sidewalk. Their heads are lowered to Bibles and cards as they silently pray for those across the street at Planned Parenthood.

September 25 marked the start of this year’s 40 Days for Life, an independently funded pro-life campaign happening in over 300 cities across the country, including Ithaca, NY. For the 40 days following, the Christian activists of this campaign pray and fast to bring an end to abortion, one baby at a time.

Ithaca’s chapter has around 50 members, some from nearby communities. They hold prayer vigils across the street from Planned Parenthood. Vigils happen every day at any time during the 40-day period. Anyone can go and pray for those who work or use the services at Planned Parenthood.

So far, the nationwide campaign has stopped over 100 women from having abortions by offering them alternative choices for their pregnancy. The Ithaca group hands out information cards with contact information for local pregnancy centers and post-abortion help hotlines.

One member, Bettina Arleo, often stands outside praying for those affected by abortion.

“I think it is important for people in the community to know that there are people here in Ithaca that care about life.” Arleo said.

Abortion is legal in the US, but states have the ability to restrict it. In NY, abortion is not required to be performed by a licensed physician. It is, however, prohibited at 24 weeks except if there is endangerment to the mother. The public funds all medically necessary abortions.

Despite Pope Francis’ recent remarks about the Church and their members putting energy into more things and not just into “hot button issues” like abortion, the pro-life activists will continue rallying and holding events.

“The work still needs to be done,” said Rev. Dan McMullin, the Associate Director of Cornell United Religious Work. “We’re still a Church that believes that the human life is absolutely sacred, so the groups still need to continue.”

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