SALT LAKE CITY — The 40 Days for Life Pro-life members endured a cold wind for two hours during the afternoon March 26 in front of the Scott Matheson Courthouse as they prayed for an end to abortion. Their opposition, Walk for Choice, was on the opposite side of State Street in front of the City and County Building. However, the opposition only voiced their opinion for about 20 or 30 minutes.
The 40 Days for Life prayer rally marked the mid-point in their Lenten fast, prayer, and public outreach in their cause to pray for an end to abortion. They chose to pray outside the courthouse because that is where justice takes place, said James Snow, 40 Days for Life coordinator. "We hope to someday reverse Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion."
Walk for Choice rallied to defend a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and to support reproductive freedom, according to a spokesperson. Their signs read "Pro-choice" and "My body, my choice."
On the Scott Matheson Courthouse side of State Street, signs read "Pray to End Abortion," "Protect women and girls, No Tax $ for Planned Parenthood" and "Abortion – one heart stops another heart breaks."
"The reason why we are here specifically today is a kind of protest to the Pro-Choice crowd, specifically for Planned Parenthood, who is having a march today," said Dominican Father Dismas Sayre, from Saint Catherine of Siena Newman Center. "We are here for 40 Days for Life, and to give witness to the sanctity of life and all the damage that Planned Parenthood, whether intended or unintended, does and what happens after abortion when a mother chooses not to see life in the womb. We want to invite people to see there is a human life in the womb. People don’t intend to do something that is wrong or evil, and they believe they are choosing a freedom and that is good. But we don’t have the freedom to do whatever we want in this world. This is not a totally free society. There are laws against things that are really morally wrong. Murder, we say, is really a moral judgment and we condemn that morally. We can call what is in the womb a bunch of cells, but we are all a bunch of cells."
Martha Cardon, the prayer/action chapter leader of Concerned Women for America, joined the 40 Days for Life rally to pray for the unborn and an end to abortion after finding the organization’s website.
"I found them because one of our issues is the sanctity of life at all ages and stages of life from the unborn to natural death," said Cardon. "We are very concerned about the unborn and we pray for them because God is our number one weapon. We need to become educated and act by informing our legislators that partially funded abortions are not acceptable."
The vigils and outreach have been effective, said Snow. "Since we started praying outside the Women’s Clinic on about the tenth day of our 40-day vigil, the owner of a house across the street from the new Women’s Clinic at 160 South 1000 East in Salt Lake City put up a sign in the window stating they support Planned Parenthood. On the otherhand, passers-by have been shocked and disgusted to find out the clinic is in their neighborhood. We have received a lot of positive comments about our presence. The list of people volunteering to pray in front of the clinic has increased from 30 last year to 150 this year."