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40 Days For Life

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40 Days for Life is a multinational, predominantly Catholic[1] anti-abortion organization which officiates protests in up to 25 nations worldwide.[2][3] The 2017 fall campaign is from September 27 until November 5.[4] It was originally started in 2004 by a local group in Bryan-College Station, Texas, led by David Bereit.Wikipedia[5] The name refers to a pattern of several events lasting for 40 days repeated in the Bible, such as in Noah's Ark, Moses's 40 days on Mount Sinai, and Jesus's 40 days in the desert.

The campaign is active in the fall and spring of each year. The fall 2010 saw an expansion of 40 Days for Life overseas, and their fall campaign launched in 238 locations around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland, and Denmark.[6]


The initial 2004 local campaign resulted in a rejuvenation of local anti-abortion activities in the Bryan-College Station area. Over the next two and a half years, the campaign was replicated in six other cities.[7] In early 2007, the leaders of those first campaigns got together and suggested a simultaneous nationwide 40 Days for Life campaign in as many cities as wished to participate. The first national campaign ran that fall with activities in more than 80 cities in more than 30 American states.[8] A second national campaign ran in the spring of 2008 during Lent, with events held in 59 cities.[9]

The Fall 2010 campaign attracted attention when a Tennessee abortion provider was arrested for brandishing a handgun at three 40 Days for Life participants demonstrating outside a South Carolina abortion clinic.[10]


A 40 Days for Life campaign consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting[11][12] in shifts outside of a clinic or hospital that performs abortions, or which provides women having abortions elsewhere with advice,[note 1] for 40 days.[13]

The organization claims that its efforts have prevented 11,165 abortions globally since 2007.[2]


The organization is seen as an example of US-style anti-abortion tactics being imported to the United Kingdom in particular, such as stalking pregnant women down the street, handing out fetus dolls to women entering the clinics, chanting so loud that they can be heard inside the clinic,[1] displaying graphic images of abortions outside the clinic,[14] filming those entering the clinics without their permission[15] and spraying them with holy water.[1]

In 2017, following increased presence due to the 50-year anniversary of the UK's Abortion Act of 1967Wikipedia, councillors in Birmingham and London supported legislation which would enact "buffer zones" around the clinics to prevent altercations.[16]


At its protests, 40DfL has provided medically incorrect health information – disguised as official NHS leaflets with a dash of emotive language, such as referring to the reader as a "mum" who will "not [be] able to look your future children in the eye"[17] – such as the widely debunked claim that abortion can cause breast cancer,[13][18] and also claiming that abortion causes physical problems for the women involved.[17] Further taking a leaf out of the anti-Planned Parenthood propaganda in the U.S., 40DfL casts abortion providers as financially motivated evildoers – despite the fact that most clinics in the UK are provided not-for-profit (e.g. via Marie StopesWikipedia and the British Pregnancy Advisory ServiceWikipedia) on behalf of the National Health Service.[15]

External links[edit]


  1. For example, 40 Days for Life has campaigned against clinics in Ireland (where abortion was illegalWikipedia unless the mother's life is at risk) which helped women who are thinking of having an abortion in Britain (where abortion is legalWikipedia on a wider number of grounds).[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lowe, Pam (October 25, 2017). "Comment: Time to move anti-abortion protest out of women's way". Birmingham Post. Retrieved October 25, 2017. p. 30
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Monaghan, Gabrielle (February 7, 2016). "Pro life activists to picket clinic". The Sunday Times. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  3. "Results". 40 Days for Life. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  5. Tim Drake (Aug 4, 2007). "40 Days for Life: Pro-Life Group Launches National Campaign". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  6. "40 Days for Life Launches in Record 238 Locations around the World". LifeSite News. 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  7. "40 Days for Life". Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose in California. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  8. "U.S. Kicks Off 40 Days for Life". Zenit News Agency. 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  9. "Abortion Opponents in 59 Cities Prepare Focused 40-Day Campaign to Counter Impact". Reuters. Jan 21, 2008. 
  10. "Police: Abortion doctor pulls gun". The Post and Courier. 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Coldwell, Will (September 30, 2013). "Meeting the Grinning Men Behind the UK Pro-Life Movement". Vice News. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  14. 40DaysofChoice [40DaysofChoice]. (2013, Oct 08). Abort 67 in Brighton… MT @Killers_Riches: I'll be facing this if I decide to leave my flat tomorrow morning. [Tweet]. Retrieved from
  15. 15.0 15.1 Ditum, Sarah (May 31, 2012). "U.K. Sees Rise of U.S.-Style Anti-Abortion Tactics". Forbes.
  16. Jones, Tamlyn (October 19-25, 2017)."Calls to ban anti-abortion protest from clinic's gates". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror. pgs. 1, 3
  17. 17.0 17.1 Baxter, Holly (26 March 2013). "40 Days for Life: Prayers and protests". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  18. Uprichard, Lucy (October 14, 2013). "40 Days For Life: Abortion and Passive-Aggressive 'Peaceful Prayer'" Huffington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2017.