40 Days for Life, an international anti-abortion organization, held a 40-day demonstration in front of the Redwood City Planned Parenthood from September 28th to November 6th. The M-A Chronicle interviewed three protesters. Here are their views on abortion, demonstrating, and more:
What Is 40 Days for Life?
David (who asked to be identified only by his first name): “Two times a year, 40 Days for Life does 40-day consecutive prayer vigils. The one they do here is 12 hours a day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At other locations they do it around the clock, 24 hours a day. And there’s a lot of biblical roots to the idea of 40 days. God has done a lot of amazing things in 40 days, like the rain for 40 days during Noah’s Arc. Anyway, there’s a lot of spiritual significance to that number. I believe the organization started about 10 or 12 years ago in Texas.”
40 Days for Life describes itself on its website as “an internationally coordinated 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses.”
Reasons for Protesting
David: “We’re here doing this as a peaceful protest to bring awareness to the community that children are being killed.”
Sarah Parker: “I’m trying to save the lives of children, trying to help women from making a decision that they may come to regret—and probably will regret at some point in their life. And then to raise awareness to the greater community that all life is valuable.”
Kacey Carey: “To raise awareness about the children being killed here in this abortuary, this Planned Parenthood in Redwood City.”
Beliefs About When Life Begins
Note: Cardiac activity can be detected around six weeks (42 days) of pregnancy.
David: “Being a father, I’ve been through four pregnancies with my wife, and I realized during prenatal visits that the baby is a live, separate human being and it’s unjust to take their lives against their will. It’s murder, and murder of an innocent person. It’s never alright to murder an innocent person. Let’s say a child goes to term and is born: they can’t take care of themselves. Yes, they can breathe and that kind of thing. But if nobody feeds them and shelters them, they can’t survive on their own. So I guess the bottom line is that science has proven that life begins at conception. Once the sperm and the egg come together all it needs is nutrition and time to grow. What else is it going to be? It’s not going to be an animal or a frog. This is going to be a baby. Every time, it’s going to be a human being.”
Parker: “If you look at embryology textbooks, and biology, those who are using those advanced textbooks, the science shows that life begins at conception. And so, to people who say, ‘Well, it’s not a baby yet. It’s not a person. It’s just a fetus’: Well, it is a fetus. A fetus is just a stage of human development, like a toddler is a stage of human development. A teenager is a stage of human development. And so a woman who is pregnant—that is a human life that is inside of her, it’s not anything else.”
Carey: “Science is with us now. Years ago, they didn’t have the science community on board because they didn’t have ultrasound, they didn’t have the early recognition of the heartbeat, which is evident at 18 days of age. And all of that was undetected years and years ago, you know, 50 years ago. Well, in 1973, when Roe v. Wade was instituted and made into law, that science was not there. Years ago, they would say, ‘Yeah, there’s a heartbeat, but it’s not a real person until they’re born.’ That’s what they used to tell people, that it’s not a human being until it’s actually out of the womb. And that’s a fallacy because children now are living at four and five months before they’re usually born—they’re surviving in the neonatal unit and they become persons and they have brain waves and all these other functions that denote a human being. But back then I don’t think they had that technology.”
Right to Protest
David: “I think that it’s a matter of the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech. I think you can tell that this is a peaceful protest. It’s not like we’re here causing harm to the facility or to anyone who would want to go. Don’t you think that people should have that right?”
Views on Violence Against Abortion Providers
David: “If you sign up with 40 Days for Life, you have to sign a testimony that you won’t retaliate, and you won’t do violence or engage with people harassing you. I think, the vast majority of the time, violence doesn’t happen. We’re not about violence here. So I will condemn anyone on our side that used violence.”
Reason for Becoming Anti-Abortion
Carey: “I used to be pro-abortion; I used to think it was great. And I had a child out of wedlock when I was a teenager, and I just met her for the first time three years ago. And so, if I had gone through with an abortion, back then, in 1978, it would have been a travesty because she’s a beautiful human being and she’s so well accomplished, and it would be one less smile in the world. So I fully am grateful that I did not abort her, even though I never knew her all these years. It’s a blessing to have children. It’s not a curse. And Planned Parenthood wants you to think it’s an obligation, it’s a burden, it’s a curse that you have a pregnancy, but it’s not in God’s eyes. It’s a blessing. All over the world, children are a blessing.”
Views on California Abortion Laws
Note: Proposition 1 was passed in the November midterm election. As the Legal Analyst’s Office says, it changes “the California Constitution to expressly include existing rights to reproductive freedom,” but does not expand these rights and makes no other changes.
David: “In the state of California, abortion is legal through all nine months. So even if the baby’s viable, they can still abort the baby.”
Carey: “The Democrats are portraying Proposition 1 as furthering abortion rights, but what it does is expands the existing abortion that we already have to the moment of birth. So a child can be actually born and the mother can say she wants to abort it. So that’s extreme, and in most anybody’s realm of thinking, if you’re going to allow a child to be born, why not just put it up for adoption if it’s already born? But this law allows abortion to take place any time during the nine months and at the point of birth. The second part of Prop 1 is that you and all taxpayers will be paying for that. Right now, Governor Newsom is putting billboards in all the Midwest states telling people to come here because he wants California to be an abortion sanctuary, which means that if a girl is in Kansas and she needs an abortion, she’s gonna come here, but the state of California is going to pay for her transportation, for child care if she needs it, for her hotel, for her meals, etc, etc. And most people, even those who support abortion, aren’t willing to pay for everyone else’s abortions.”
Abortion remains a contentious issue, although not as much in San Mateo County, where Proposition 1 passed with 79.58% of the vote. In comparison, 61% of Americans nationwide think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.