Fall 40 Days for Life held in Overland Park

St. Thomas More parishioners at 40 Days for Life. (photo/courtesy of 40 Days for Life)

By Megan Marley

40 Days for Life in Overland Park is wrapping up the final weeks of its Fall campaign, which spans from September 27 to November 5. The vigil draws individuals, organizations and denominations from both Kansas and Missouri to take a stand for unborn children.

“The building may be in Kansas, but it’s affecting the entire metropolitan area,” said Wendy Curtis, director of the Kansas City Coalition for Life, which organizes the event and gives material and community support for women to choose life for their child. “There’s no actual surgical abortion clinic in Kansas City, Mo., but the women from there are coming here.”

The Planned Parenthood in Midtown Kansas City, on the Missouri side, recently received license to provide chemical abortions. Curtis said the deadline to plan a full 40 Days for Life Fall campaign there had passed by the time the services were announced, so the earliest possible campaign would be Spring 2018; groups and churches further north of Leawood—and closer to the facility—would probably be encouraged to participate in campaigns there.

One of the biggest takeaways from the campaign is raising community awareness and involvement. Curtis said reactions range from friendly honks and waves of passing drivers, to angry gestures, while some inquisitive persons stop to discuss abortion and life issues.

“It just points out the fact that we are making a difference in the community—people are noticing us, are coming over and talking to us,” she said.

“[Being out here], it’s allowing people to have a passion and it’s allowing people to be exposed to what’s taking place, because it’s been hidden for so long,” said Betty Wood, a member of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City community who comes once a week during 40 Days for Life. “We wrapped up abortion, made it sound really pretty, handed it to the public, and said this is about a woman’s choice, period, and that’s what we should all believe. That’s not the case—we’re actually killing human beings, and God is not happy about it.”

For Wood, the pro-life mission particularly strikes home.

“When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion. I lived in New York, and there was nobody standing outside on the sidewalk that gave me an opportunity to look at something different. This is my opportunity to be that person for someone else,” she said. Wood also coaches women who are pregnant and is working to establish a chapter of Deeper Still, a ministry to help women and men heal after abortion.

For Kansas resident Brian Peel, being there for 40 Days for Life is just one of the many ways he hopes to have a positive impact on mothers to change their mind and choose life.

“Both of my children are adopted, and they were both born during the Roe v. Wade era,” Peel said. “Because their birth mothers chose life, my wife and I were able to adopt.”

Helping mothers with material support through crisis pregnancy centers, and being involved in politics are important for him as well.

“You have to rank those [voter issues], and the number one issue for me is pro-life. If we can’t give these babies the opportunity to take their first breath, then the other issues don’t really matter as much.”

Jerry & Mo Haake, parishioners and members of the Respect Life committee at St. Thomas More in Kansas City, Mo., hope witnessing with other Christians during the 40 days has an impact on passersby and those in the abortion industry.

“I think there’s beauty that not just Catholics but other Christian faiths and others believe that life is precious, life is important; so knowing that people of like mind are willing to share an effort and communicate that message that life is important—from cradle, and before cradle, to natural end of life…it’s nice,” Jerry Haake said.

40 Days for Life continues through November 5, concluding with a rally on that date at 3 p.m.; Ks. Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, Ks. State Representative Abraham Rafie of Overland Park and Deacon John Weist of St. Michael the Archangel Parish will speak and lead prayer. See 40daysforlife.com/overland-park/ for updates and to view the vigil schedule.

 

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Wednesday
November 22, 2017
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph