By Jonathon Van Maren
Around the world, Western governments are cracking down on peaceful prayer outside of abortion clinics.
In Canada, “bubble zones” have been set up around most facilities to keep prayer vigils away, with anyone who enters the “zone” subject to arrest.
In England, a Catholic woman has been arrested twice outside abortion clinics for praying silently, in her mind — she was acquitted for the first “offence,” and presumably will face trial again. She isn’t the only one — a priest was also arrested for silently praying near an abortion clinic. In both of these instances, the police made clear that prayer was the issue.
In nearly every anglosphere country, peaceful pro-lifers have been falsely accused of harassment, verbal abuse, and even violence as abortion activists seek to silence any opposition to the killing of children in the womb. This gaslighting has been largely successful.
The campaign against prayer outside abortion clinics has particularly impacted the work of 40 Days for Life, an international movement to bring praying pro-lifers to clinics where babies are being killed — I interviewed 40 Days for Life director Robert Colqhoun on the scope and impact of their work for our podcast sometime ago. Most recently, 40 Days for Life of Glasgow, Scotland, has come under attack. Pro-lifer Rose Docherty explained what is going on — and how what they are facing is part of a broader attack on the rights of pro-lifers and their ability to speak out for pre-born children.
What does 40 Days for Life Glasgow do?
In 2015 it was announced by the U.K. Westminster Government that the legislative power over abortion was going to be devolved to the Scottish Government in 2016. This power had until that time been reserved at Westminster in London. Upon hearing this news and in response to a request from 40 Days for Life, members of the Catholic laity of Scotland came together and held its first ever 40 Days for Life Vigil during Lent of 2016.
The site chosen by the vigil leader was outside of the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Govan Glasgow. The QEUH is a National Health Hospital (NHS) facility. It is the second largest hospital in Europe. Most abortions in the United Kingdom are performed in NHS facilities. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Scotland has a population of 5.5 million people. In 2022 it was recorded that the U.K. had reached an abortion total of 10 million babies. Scotland ‘s share of that figure of abortions since 1968, has now passed half a million abortions.
40 Days for Life Glasgow exists to pray publicly for a change in this Scottish culture of death. The vigil takes place outside of the QEUH. It exists in order to offer help and support to anyone experiencing a crisis pregnancy or indeed in need of post abortion syndrome support. It exists to be a visible witness to the fact that a culture of life exists in Scotland. It exists to show that abortion is not good for women or their unborn children. It exists to say publicly, choose life!
The 40 Days for Life Vigil takes place each Lent with the exception of 2020 and 2021 when COVID-19 restrictions were still in operation. The previous year 2020 the COVID “pandemic” was highlighted. That year our 40 Days for Life Vigil had to stop on Day 20 in response to the U.K. prime minister’s call to go home and stay indoors.
In the few days just prior to the COVID-19 announcement our vigil received word that three women had had a change of heart and had decided to continue with their pregnancies.
The following year, 2021 the restrictions were not eased until after Lent. The group decided that they could not allow the year to go by without once again praying publicly for a culture of life and witnessing to that all important offer of help and support to those in need. They held a Twenty Days of ’40 Days for Life in June that year.
Our 40 Days for Life Vigil operates from 8a.m. until 8p.m. each day from Ash Wednesday until Palm Sunday. By the grace of God the response of the Scottish people has sustained our 40 Days for Life throughout the last eight years. So much so that a recent tweet from a pro-abortion group read, “Lent starts next week, you know what that means!”