National director visits Duluth pro-life vigilThe organization 40 Days for Life is trying to stop abortion through 40-day campaigns of prayer and fasting as well as grassroots outreach. Duluth is one of 301 cities taking part in the current vigil.
By: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune
When an abortion clinic opened in David Bereit’s Texas hometown a few years ago, he and other pro-life supporters felt they needed to do something. They prayed for an hour, seeking God’s guidance.
That hour of prayer led to the national 40 Days for Life campaign, Bereit told 40 supporters standing vigil outside Duluth’s Women’s Health Center this morning.
The campaign, which Bereit directs, is trying to stop abortion through 40-day campaigns of prayer and fasting, as well as grassroots outreach. Duluth is one of 301 cities taking part in the current vigil, which began Sept. 28 and runs through Nov. 6.
“We are pricking the conscience of Duluth,” Bereit told the supporters during his first of five visits to vigils across Minnesota today.
This is the fourth year Duluth-area pro-life supporters have held a 40 Days for Life vigil. At least 300 people took part last year, said Christine Morrison, who is helping coordinate this year’s vigil.
About 30 people were on hand before Bereit arrived. Some stood in small groups, some holding signs. A few marched along two sides of the building, holding rosaries and praying softly aloud.
“All life is sacred, and all life needs to be stood up for not matter how oppressed,” said Tim Helwig, one of the marchers.
Helwig has been involved in all four Duluth vigils.
“Those in womb should be the most protected,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”
This is Angie Wambach’s first year active in 40 Days for Life. The mother of three believes that life begins at conception.
“I also believe abortion is harmful to women emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically,” she said.
Wambach is going to direct a women’s care center being established in Duluth to offer support for women facing unplanned pregnancies.
“I feel abortion is a reflection that we haven’t met the needs of women,” she said.
Signs stating a different point of view hung on the fence outside the building housing the Women’s Health Center. “Trust Women. Protect Reproductive Rights” read one, “Pro-freedom, Celebrate Choice” read the other.
“They have a right to pray in front of our building and women have a right to a legal and safe medical procedure,” Women’s Health Center Executive Director Laurie Casey said of the vigil’s participants.
The center serves Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario. About 500 abortions are performed there annually.