At 6:30 PM this evening, pro-life leaders and citizens will gather from across the city at what could be the last 40 Days for Life Candlelight Kickoff on the sidewalk of 1211 27th Pl S, the location of the current Planned Parenthood. Speakers and leaders will include:
- Bishop Robert J. Baker, Catholic Diocese of Birmingham
- Dr. Matthew Phillips, Life On Wheels Alabama
- Sarah Howell, CEC For Life & #WeSayNo Campaign
- Mary Ann Vann, 40 Days for Life
- Natalie & Matthew Brumfield, Bound4Life Birmingham
For sixteen years, faithful citizens have held two prayer campaigns a year in front of the 27th Pl S location, each forty days long.
Local Coordinator Ed Carrick says, “The 40 Days for Life campaign utilizes prayer, fasting and outreach geared toward empowering mothers and fathers, often in difficult situations, to choose life for their child. During our 16 years on the sidewalk, we have seen approximately 500 babies saved, which means hundreds of mothers and fathers assisted, loved and supported. Though the campaign only runs for 40 days, the local pro-life community strives to see that every day in our city.”
For the last two years, these campaigns have also seen Planned Parenthood Birmingham unable to perform any abortions in their current building. However, a new abortion facility is being constructed now, funded by their regional arm Planned Parenthood Southeast, and despite struggling over the last several years to find a medical doctor, maintain health regulations, or even keep their doors open at the current location.
“There have been months at a time that this Planned Parenthood has been forced to close its doors, the most recent because employees were selling drugs illegally in the parking lot,” says Sarah Howell, one of the organizers for tonight’s Kickoff and the current #WeSayNo Campaign. “Planned Parenthood is a failing business in our city with a long history of infractions, trauma to women, and a complete disregard for the law. Birmingham doesn’t need a new Planned Parenthood. We need state officials at the Department of Public Health to finally shut this dangerous business down.”
Planned Parenthood has announced it plans to open the new facility at the end of 2019. If that happens, organizers of the 40 Days campaigns will move their prayer efforts to the new site at 1019 1st Ave N. However, citizens are praying that the new facility never opens at all. They have coupled their prayers with public awareness – reaching out to citizens, writing letters to business owners involved in the construction, and contacting city and state officials.
The pro-life community has also already established a prayerful presence at the new location. In the last two years, pro-life citizens, local pastors, legislators and even national leaders have held prayer rallies, weekly prayer vigils, and press conferences on the sidewalk. Many of these events have made national news, especially with the recent passage of the Human Life Protection Act.
“We have never seen this level of engagement from the community in previous campaigns,” Howell states. “People in Birmingham are recognizing the harm Planned Parenthood does to our city; they are coming out to pray; they are asking how they can get involved; pastors are standing together in a new way. Pro-life people are energized all over the state and the world is watching to see if Alabama will succeed in truly protecting all life. We hope to do the same in Birmingham.”
Organizers say a huge announcement will also be made at tonight’s event. They say the news will energize citizens even more and demonstrate just how faithful God has been to answer their prayers.