Leaders of 40 Days for Life vigil sites throughout the Valley pray during the Sept. 23 kickoff Mass at St. Mary's Basilica. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Leaders of 40 Days for Life vigil sites throughout the Valley pray during the Sept. 23 kickoff Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

The international prayer campaign that began in Texas 10 years ago is still going strong. The local fall campaign, which began Sept. 24, is taking place outside abortion and family planning facilities in Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Chandler and Flagstaff.

Participants pray for the women who enter the clinics as well as the people who work inside.

40 Days for Life vigil

[/quote_box_right]Ellen Sweeney, who stands outside Family Planning Associates in Phoenix before heading to work, said the campaign has been going well so far but could use more participants.

“We are barely weeks into the campaign and we’ve got something hard to get at Family Planning Associates,” Sweeney said. “We had a turnaround.”

A young couple that planned to visit the clinic for a pregnancy test responded to Sweeney’s invitation to have the test done at the Hope Mobile which was parked outside the center’s doors.

The coupled later called Life Choices Women’s Clinic for pregnancy support.

Family Planning Associates performs abortions through 23 weeks, according to information posted on the facility’s website.

Sweeney said she and other 40 Days for Life participants see women going into the center who are visibly pregnant.

“That’s what’s upsetting,” Sweeney said. “We’re really crossing the line with infanticide.”

Ideally, the prayer campaign is supposed to be held 24 hours a day. So far, organizers say that’s not happening in Arizona.

“I get mortified when I see people in other states who are praying in snow drifts and rain,” Sweeney said.

Anita Usher, who prays outside a Chandler Planned Parenthood located in a strip mall, said women who turn to the abortion provider are not being served.

“They are providing a wretched life of regrets for these women and death for the children,” Usher said. “My prayer has been in every campaign that this place would close not just today, but forever.”

The first nationwide 40 Days for Life campaign in the United States took place in 2007. This year’s fall prayer campaign runs through Nov. 2.