Shawn Carney, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life, said the “pro-life side” is the “only side discussing science” in the abortion debate, offering his remarks in a Monday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow ahead of 2019’s March for Life, scheduled for January 18 in Washington, DC.
Carney explained his organization’s origins.
“40 Days for Life started in 2007 and we hold peaceful prayer vigils outside of abortion facilities across America,” said Carney. “We’re now in 50 countries. We do a campaign in the fall and a campaign in the spring, and this started in College Station, Texas.”
“We’ve helped 200 abortion workers leave their jobs. We’ve helped 15,000 moms with their babies. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth the last 11 years.”
Marlow invited Carney to describe 40 Days for Life’s outreach tactics.
Carney replied, “We’ve had 800,000 volunteers participate and go out to the sidewalk and pray in front of a local abortion facility. The one thing that always blows me away is that 30 percent of those people tell us this is the first thing they’ve ever done in the pro-life movement, and I’m always like, ‘Why?’ This is the hardest thing you can do is go outside and publicly oppose this where it’s going on.”
Carney continued, “But the reason they do it is because it’s law-abiding. It’s peaceful. You don’t get arrested. We’ve never had an incident or an act of violence at any of our vigils. It’s professional, and we take it very seriously because abortion is a serious business. Planned parenthood certainly takes it seriously. We need to be organized at the grassroots level, and that was one of the criticisms from the ACLU is that we are highly organized at the grassroots level.”
Marlow asked why people who were previously sympathetic to abortion come to oppose the termination of unborn children.
“It’s seeing the reality of abortion,” explained Carney.
Carney recalled the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood abortion facility director. Johnson is now a pro-life advocate with 40 Days for Life.
“I knew Abby for eight years when she worked at Planned Parenthood,” Carney said. “She was the 2008 Planned Parenthood employee of the year, and she was at my local abortion facility. That was the one she was the director of. I knew her, and she walked right into my office in 2009 after she had a change of heart.”
Carney went on, “They’re making a movie about [Abby Johnson]. It’ll be out March the 22nd. Abby is now on off the most outspoken advocates for the unborn, and I always point out to folks this is not a movement of a bunch of self righteous Christians trying to tell everybody how to live. Quite the opposite, it’s a movement of people who have had an abortion, or have paid for or encouraged an abortion, worked at Planned Parenthood, doctors who have done an abortions; we have one on our board.”
Carney continued, “It’s really a movement of converts, and the gate only swings in one direction. You don’t have parents, [or] a mom who has five kids who runs a pregnancy center or volunteers at her church and wakes up and is 55 and realizes she should’ve been managing an abortion facility her entire life. It really swings in one direction.”
Marlow and Carney speculated that any pro-lifer turned pro-abortion advocate would be quickly heralded by the left.
“They’d be on a speaking tour in two seconds and they’d have a book out,” quipped Carney.
Carney remarked, “We believe in freedom of speech, and we believe in God. If you go out there and you peacefully pray, you stand there in silence; look, nobody grows up wanting an abortion, and nobody grows up wanting to work in the abortion industry. There is already a tremendous amount of tension inside the walls of a Planned Parenthood facility in America, and when you go out there and you don’t yell and you don’t curse them to hell, they’re going to respond.”
Carney explained, “We’ve helped nearly 191 abortion workers. [Abby Johnson] was the 26th abortion worker to leave her job during the 40 Days for Life. They don’t turn around the first week. They hate us, and they don’t turn around the second week. But by the third and fourth weeks, when these wonderful Americans have been out there in cold and heat, they quit focusing on you and they focus on the reality of the work that they’re doing.”
Carney assessed, “It is amazing how uneducated many Planned Parenthood staff members are about abortion. It really is, and [Abby Johnson’s] testimony shows that. She finally witnessed an abortion, and that led to her conversion.”
Carney said, “Not only is it something we do, and we are a faith-based group, but this is a patriotic thing to do. I don’t know of any movement that takes more advantage of freedom of speech than the pro-life movement in getting out there and calling attention to this.”
Marlow attributed the pro-life movement’s growth, in part, to increasing awareness of neonatal development. “There’s a huge science component to why the pro-life movement is thriving,” he said. “The more people understand about abortion versus the more they understand how developed the fetus is typically at the time of abortion, the arguments to be pro-abortion get so much less persuasive; the more information you have.”
Carney concurred, “There’s only one side discussing science and it’s the pro-life side. If you vaguely support abortion, they don’t go anywhere near science. They don’t go anywhere near reason. It’s all personal, and we have seen out at our vigils, their response is just loud and it’s noisy and it’s angry. There’s no more ‘reproductive rights,’ or ‘health care,’ or ‘privacy,’ or anything you would sit down and have a normal discussion with someone about. It’s all this in your face angry; ‘shout your abortion‘ mentality. It’s bad for their cause, but it’s definitely good for us, because we don’t do those things, and we do discuss science and the humanity of the baby, and the impact that abortion has on the woman after the abortion.”
Carney stated, “The numbers alone, 3,000 abortions a day in the United States. So prayer is the first response. We go out there. We pray silently. We don’t shout at people. We do have trained sidewalk counselors, people who can offer medical alternatives locally. We do not shout our prayers.”
Carney added, “I’ve helped dozens of children who were seconds away from being aborted. We just have to be so numb to what abortion does and who it does it to to talk about it so callously in this way, ‘I wish I had an abortion,’ or to say that this is just another surgery in America. You would have to be completely disconnected from reality, and you would have to be completely insensitive to those who are considering abortion, because they don’t brush it off. It is a big deal, and when you’re standing in front of a parking lot of a Planned Parenthood you realize they’re not out in Washington, DC, supporting ‘reproductive rights.’ They never wanted to end up in the parking lot of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility, and now they’re there, The idea that they’re shouting their abortion is insensitive and simply untrue.”
Carney spoke optimistically of the pro-life movement’s future.
“The momentum is very much one-sided,” declared Carney. “One side depends on the government and Hollywood, and one side depends on real America, where the people actually live and where the abortions actually happen. The March for Life — 46 years of legalized abortion — every year the march gets larger and it gets younger. I’m 36 years old. I have seven kids, but I’m one of the old guys at the march. There are a lot of college students, a lot of high school students, and it’s very encouraging. The former president of NARAL resigned after she witnessed March for Life in person. She cited her inability to motivate young people to support abortion.”
Carney added, “It really is encouraging. Now we’re seeing great things on the political front with a pro-life president.”
Carney encouraged people to participate in this year’s forthcoming March for Life in the nation’s capital.
“It’s awesome to see the March for Life,” exclaimed Carney, “It’s a very patriotic event, also, marching for life in Washington, DC. Go to a march wherever you are. If you have a local march or a state-wide march, it has a tremendous impact, and it definitely sends a message to the abortion industry.
Carney concluded by explaining the selection of “40 Days” as a part of his organization’s namesake, “We take that time period that God uses throughout scripture to bring about transformation, so we have a daily prayer and a daily scripture for 40 days, and that’s the 40 Days for Life.”
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