Pro-life group focuses on peaceful clinic vigils |

Pro-life group focuses on peaceful clinic vigils

Sandi Hoover
Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealA small group gathers to pray near the Planned Parenthood office in Carson City as part of the Reno-Tahoe 40 Days of Life campaign.

A woman who came to a clinic on Tyrone Road in Reno last week to have an abortion decided instead to choose life for her baby, marking the first save of this year’s 40 Days for Life Reno-Tahoe campaign, according to Paul Turner, media coordinator for the region’s event.

“The 40 Days for Life pro-life project in this area includes 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigils at abortion facilities, and grassroots educational outreach,” Turner said.

Turner said the 40 Days for Life volunteer who was praying outside the Reno facility later told him she had barely remembered to grab her “I Regret My Abortion” sign as she left her home Feb. 28. As she was praying, four or five vehicles with young women in them pulled into the driveway of the facility.

The volunteer said she was praying specifically that God would stir the heart of one of those within the building when an SUV pulled out of the driveway with the female obviously crying in the passenger seat, Turner said.

Her boyfriend rolled down the window and said, “She didn’t do it; she saw your sign and didn’t want to do it anymore.”

For Turner and others participating in the international campaign, saving even one life is what it’s all about.

Cecelia Merrell gathered with about a dozen other volunteers across the street from the Planned Parenthood facility on North Stewart Street in Carson City on Saturday to offer prayers.

“Planned Parenthood is one of the largest abortion referral groups in the country,” Merrell said.

“We don’t yell,” she said. “We don’t engage. If people want to talk to us, we’re there, and we can refer them to the community pregnancy center, or we have literature we can give them.”

Allison Gaulden, regional vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood, said it is unnerving for those seeking health services to have protesters outside the facility.

“It’s very intimidating to try to get your health care when there are people outside like that. I don’t think women should have to go through that. It’s restrictive to women’s health care,” she said. “We just opened Nov. 2, and the Carson City community has been asking for us to come here for years. The majority of our patients are between 18-29 years old and sexually active.”

Lori Courtney, who was praying with the Carson City group Saturday, said the vigils work.

“We’ve saved babies,” Courtney said. “Women have decided against abortion because of our prayers, and they’ve come back later with their babies to participate with us.” She said the response they received Saturday was mostly positive.

“People go by and give us the thumbs up or beep their horns,” she said.

Merrell said she sometimes gets discouraged.

“One thing that was upsetting was when one of our parish members stopped to tell us that (abortion) is a personal choice. It’s very disheartening when that happens, but they’ll be in our prayers now too,” she said. The 40 Days of Life runs through April 1. The plan is to have people at the Carson City location Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, Turner said.

The 40-day time frame is drawn from examples throughout Biblical history where God brought about world-changing transformation in 40-day periods, as well as the Christian season of Lent, she said.