Abortion Opponents Start 40 Days of Prayer in Catonsville
Vigil is part of the the 40 Days for Life campaign.
Opponents of abortion have set up outside the Hillcrest Clinic in Catonsville as part of a prayer vigil campaign that will last 40 days.
Residents from various towns throughout the region have volunteered to stand outside the Catonsville clinic, which has been operating since 1973 and was the first independent abortion clinic in the area, according to its website.
On Thursday morning, a dozen people held rosary prayer beads, signs, talked and prayed. As people entered and exited the parking lot in their cars, some people joined their hands in prayer and mouthed words as they drove away.
The 40 Days for Life campaign started in Texas in 2007 and has grown to 422 cities and several countries.
Catonsville resident and vigil co-organizer Ann Boland said that volunteers have been praying outside the Catonsville clinic since 2007. The campaign happens once in the fall and once in the spring.
Co-organizer Johanna Coughlin said the group doesn't have graphic signs and they don't approach anyone. Some women have approached them, however, and when they do, they are offered help.
One woman shared her story in a video put together by the organization, where she talked about not wanting to have an abortion but not being sure if she had a choice.
Carolyn Smith, a Columbia resident and a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ellicott City, has been coming for several years every Thursday. Smith said she prays for the mother and the baby.
"It's more than just the life of the baby," she said. "There are many lives at stake."
A total of 500 area residents are involved in the Baltimore campaign in various capacities, Boland said. Volunteers will also refer anyone to the Pregnancy Center West, which is center that provides women counseling and support as an alternative to abortion.