“The largest simultaneous pro-life mobilization in history”
An interview with a co-director of Sacramento’s 40 Days for Life Campaign, which begins today across the US
SACRAMENTO, Cal., Sept. 26, 2007 (http://calcatholic.com) - Wynette Sills is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She and her husband, Ed, are organic farmers north of Sacramento. An experienced sidewalk counselor, she is a co-director of the 40 Days for Life Campaign in Sacramento.
California Catholic Daily: What is “40 Days for Life?”
Sills: It’s the largest simultaneous pro-life mobilization in history: a continuous, 960 hour, prayer and fasting vigil outside of abortion sites in 89 cities in 33 states. We’ll be keeping vigil at our region’s busiest abortion facility, Sacramento Planned Parenthood at 29th and B St, from September 26th through November 4th.
California Catholic Daily: Has 40 Days for Life been tried elsewhere?
Sills: It’s been done in 9 cities around the country, with fantastic results. College Station, Texas, activated over 1,000 people and slashed the local abortion rate by 28%. Green Bay, Wisconsin, rallied 700 people -- only 2% had ever been active in pro-life efforts before -- and saved two babies from abortion during the first hour of their campaign. Houston, Texas, directed 120 pregnant women away from one abortion site to pregnancy care centers, and one of the most notorious abortion sites in the city closed down after being in operation for over 20 years.
California Catholic Daily: What will “40 Fays for Life” look like in California?
Sills: The two participating cities in California are Sacramento and Orange. We had our amazingly enthusiastic first planning meeting for the Sacramento campaign on July 31.
The Prayer Vigil will be a prayerful presence. No graphic signs are allowed and every participant must sign a ‘Statement of Peace,’ which gives rules for maintaining a law-abiding, respectful vigil. Already hundreds of new people are registering to participate.
California Catholic Daily: Will there be any attempt to get an estimate of the impact?
Sills: We plan to have nearby pregnancy resource centers document increased numbers of women seeking help to have their babies. We have a regular presence at the other two main abortion facilities -- one of them is another Planned Parenthood -- and will be watching closely if the targeted site tries to shift business there. People at the vigil sites will record their observations: number of cars, number of clients, and prayer requests.
California Catholic Daily: Are you working closely with the police?
Sills: Yes. The Sacramento Police Department has already been informed, and we have a very good working relationship with them. We appreciate their presence. After all, aren't we on the ‘same team’, all interested in protecting innocent human life?
Planned Parenthood may attempt to spin the media against us. They may have ‘pledge a picketer’ type of fundraising. But they don't have the fervor or infrastructure to respond adequately for the 960 hours we will be there.
California Catholic Daily: Will you still be recruiting new participants even after the campaign gets started?
Sills: Yes, it is never too late to join. We recently received the endorsement of our Bishop Weigand of the Sacramento Diocese and his message was sent to parishes throughout the diocese. We hope that churches of all denominations from Bakersfield to Oregon will organize caravans to join us in Sacramento.
Of course, individuals can drop in at any time during the 40 days. Groups should call our vigil coordinator, Chris Jonas, at (530) 878-0598 to schedule a time that needs to be filled. No signs are needed. We have already ordered signs with the messages we have agreed to focus on.
For more information, contact Wynette Sills at (916) 955-1577, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.