September 28 marked the beginning of 40 Days for Life, an international event to end abortion organized by a pro-life advocacy group. Throughout the 40 days, constant prayer occurs at each participating location in the hopes of “showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families,” according to the campaign’s official website.
In addition to prayer, action is recommended such as education drives for colleges and neighborhoods.
In Tulsa, the event is being held at The Garden of Hope, near 31st Street and Sheridan Rd., which is owned by the Diocese of Tulsa. The park is directly across from the city’s abortion clinic.
TU’s own St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center participated in the event last Thursday. The organization signed up to cover twelve hours of the event, working from 6:00 pm to 6:00am in two-person shifts, Father Bryan Ketterer said. Although he is new to the position, he recalled TU having always sent people to the event. The campaign began in 2004, in Bryan-College Station, Texas, and spread on from there.
Ketterer believes it’s important for students to get involved in this sort of activism because “as the younger generation, this is a big question in their lives. Maybe many of their friends have been in the situation where they’ve considered taking the life of their child.”
By participating in the event, the students are “standing up against what our culture says is okay,” as Catholic doctrine opposes abortion and birth control.
40 Days for Life hopes to be a “quiet and peaceful presence,” according to Ketterer. By praying in the park, participants hope to be a voice for babies who may be subject to abortion.
The event focuses on prayer because of the Christian and Catholic belief that “we don’t want to take action without prayer” and that “prayer is the foundation.” There are people in the legislature, Ketterer noted, working to change laws regarding abortion, but “if our laws don’t change, there’s really nothing we can do.”
Sidewalk counselors, who corner people as they enter and exit the clinic, offer alternatives to abortion and support. Mobile clinics and donation of baby items are also part of the effort to end abortions.