Recently, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio announced that the Diocese of Brooklyn was joining the international 40 Days For Life campaign during the Lenten season. You can read all the details about the mission and the history of the campaign in its website: https://40daysforlife.com/
The campaign started in 1998. That year, Planned Parenthood opened an abortion center in Bryan/College Station. Four friends decided that the proper answer was to pray. And pray they did. Twenty-one years later, the 40 Days For Life campaign has become an international movement.
Since the Roe v. Wade decision was issued in 1973, the Pro Life Movement has been praying and fighting for the unborn. At times, the perception has been that the main goal of the movement was to promote the nomination of pro-life judges to the Supreme Court so the Roe v. Wade decision could be revoked.
While that battle has been fought for decades and continues to be an important element of the movement, the fight for the dignity of human life is won or lost in the heart of each person. And we know that prayer is the first and fundamental tool to win that battle.
In the 40 Days For Life website they explain the core of their mission: “Want to end abortion? If you do, the first thing you must do is pray. Prayer is at the center of 40 Days for Life … Pray outside an abortion facility. Pray at church. Pray at work. Pray in the car. Pray at home with your family.”
In his statement, Bishop DiMarzio has called on us to join the campaign during Lent. “I have pledged the diocese’s support for the worldwide 40 Days For Life campaign, and am encouraging a period of prayer, fasting, peaceful vigil and education to take place in the name of the unborn,” the bishop said.
Catholics and many other pro-life people in the State of New York were shocked by the Reproductive Health Act that was passed by the state legislature, making abortion legal until the moment of birth, without any effective restrictions.
“In response to the recent malicious Reproductive Health Act adopted in New York State, I have received dozens of letters and messages from Catholics, throughout Brooklyn and Queens, who are profoundly shocked by this extremist pro-abortion law,” Bishop DiMarzio said in his statement. “As such, I thought it critical that during this season of Lent, our faithful have a greater opportunity to be part of something that places great emphasis on the value of life.”
The rejection of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the U.S. Senate has been another wake-up call. The bill would have punished doctors who don’t try saving the life of babies born alive during failed abortions. Its rejection is the legalization of infanticide, even by the narrow definition of personhood proposed by the supporters of late term abortion.
While a vast majority of Americans – regardless of their party affiliation – rejects this abomination, 44 U.S. senators supported it.
Confronted with the ultimate horror of abortion, several states – including Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky – have advanced heartbeat legislations to curb late-term abortions. The legislative battles to come require political action, but the battle in the hearts of politicians and the general population starts with prayer and fasting. And that is what Bishop DiMarzio has called us to do.