The 40 Days for Life Leeds Autumn Campaign 2023 ran from 27 September to 5 November.
Chris Redding is the local 40DFL Campaign Director in the Diocese of Leeds and his Report is summarised below:
Summary: We had a peaceful prayerful presence outside MSI Leeds abortion facility, 7am to 7pm daily. There were 31 on the rota and at least 40 in total who came to pray at the vigil. We were also supported by prayer partners remote from the vigil site. There were at least 7 new vigil participants. The campaign began with a prayer rally outside the facility on the evening of 27 September, which was again led by Fr Paul Grogan. Twelve attended and, unlike last year, the weather was dry.
Visit from 40 Days for Life International Director: On Day 29 we had a visit from 40DFL International Director, Robert Colquhoun, who joined us on the vigil at the end of the day outside MSI. We prayed together and Robert encouraged us and reported on campaigns in the UK and in other parts of the world. We had an event page on the Diocese of Leeds website and many parishes were willing to publicise the campaign with some taking flyers. We also had the support of Evangelical Christian volunteers and one of them arranged a meeting room for our final celebration at her church.
Volunteers report the following interactions:
‘While at MS a young couple, in their twenties, had been going in and out for over an hour. Both were quite distressed. She was carrying a five month old baby. The man came over for help to order a taxi, because they had a poor grasp of English. I asked if they were there for an abortion. He explained she was 5 weeks pregnant and couldn’t cope with another child. They had only arrived a month ago, and didn’t know anyone. They accepted they were in shock at the pregnancy news and I pointed out that their present child would be 14 months, walking, etc when the new baby was born. I convinced them help was available and gave them my contact number and someone they could contact for help to introduce them to the community. They appeared relieved and were not going to have an abortion. When the taxi left they waved and smiled and looked as though a weight had been lifted from their shoulders.’
‘A young man came to talk to two volunteers. His partner was inside having a consultation. He wanted the abortion as he felt their circumstances were not right but he was feeling guilty. He took leaflets.’
‘A woman pastor stopped and related how her son had been conceived in rape.’
Support and opposition: There were supportive conversations with Muslims who stopped to talk, including a Muslim colleague of one volunteer who brought hot tea and cake.
There were angry, abusive shouts from some cars and support from others going by. There were also visits to the site by community police officers. On one occasion an ambulance came to MSI and was there for about an hour.
A group, opposing what we do, called ‘Sister Supporter Leeds’, held a counter presence across the road from us, starting on Day 14 and from Monday to Saturday each week. Hours were variable. Sometimes there was one or more from 8am but other days they did not come until after 9am. They had their own code of conduct and were peaceful and normally stayed on the other side of the road. Once one of them came across while a volunteer was in conversation with a client to ask if the client was alright to which she replied that she was. MSI supported their presence, keeping placards and tabards in their building for the Sister Supporter volunteers to collect.
Results: We were one of 12 campaigns in the UK, part of the international 40 Days for Life Campaign which has released the following successful results:
- 40DFL Campaigns were held in 681 cities worldwide.
- Three abortion workers left their jobs and became pro-life.
- An additional seven other abortion workers left their jobs.
- Two abortion facilities closed and 461 babies were saved.
With thanks to Chris Redding, Fr Paul Grogan and all volunteers campaigning to uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death…