Pro-life campaign saves 717 babies from abortions

40 Days for Life founder David Bereit is seen here in a screen capture of a video in which he endorses the Maryland March for Life. | YouTube/40 Days for Life

The 40 days for Life campaign concluded with 717 babies saved from abortion from Sept. 29 to Nov. 6. Campaign volunteers prayed and fasted outside 367 abortion facilities in 270 U.S. cities and over 20 countries.

Pro-Life Action Ministries (PLAM), a major sponsor of the campaign, estimated that 676 mothers have been persuaded not to abort their babies but the official 40 Days for Life website puts the final count at 717.

"The numbers are reported by our local leaders and volunteers. There are a variety of ways leaders learn of babies saved from abortion. Perhaps the most typical is when a woman leaves the abortion center and thanks the on-site volunteers for being there to change her mind," Steve Karlen, North American campaign director of 40 Days for Life, told Baptist Press.

The 2016 campaign included the 40 Days for Life United bus tour that stopped at Planned Parenthood facilities in 127 U.S. cities. The tour began in Washington D.C. on Sept. 28 and concluded in Richmond, Virginia on Nov. 6.

"The greatest blessings of the tour were seeing unprecedented hope and enthusiasm from pro-lifers across the country. We saw consistently large crowds at the 127 cities we visited. People traveled from miles away to join our rallies — many of them who have never been involved in pro-life activism before," said Karlen.

The bus gathered numerous signatures during the campaign. Some of the signatures were accompanied by notes from women to their aborted babies while others came from children who were saved from abortion in the previous runs of the 40 Days for Life campaign.

Other sponsors of the tour included March for Life, Heartbeat International, Silent No More Awareness, Students for Life and Susan B. Anthony List. The 40 days for Life website contains several stories from campaign volunteers about mothers who decided at the last minute not to terminate their pregnancies.

PLAM announced that the next campaign will begin on Dec. 1. Over 700,000 people from 18,500 churches have participated in the prayer vigils in 636 cities and 36 countries since 2007. The campaign has prevented at least 11,796 babies from being aborted, according to PLAM.