August 21, 2020

Editorial

Nebraska’s stance on life a reminder about upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign

While the headlines in the United States in recent weeks have centered on the coronavirus, civil unrest in cities and the upcoming November elections on the local, state and national level, Catholics and people of other faith traditions heard some affirming news on the pro-life front last week.

Stating that Nebraska is “a pro-life state,” Gov. Pete Ricketts on Aug. 15 signed into law a ban on dismemberment abortions, which he said stops a “horrific procedure,” and is “an important step to strengthen our culture of life.”

The new law, passed by the Nebraska state legislature on Aug. 13, bans a second-trimester abortion procedure—usually done from week 13 through week 24 of an unborn baby’s gestation—that removes the fetus in pieces. With the ban in place, if this type of abortion is preformed, it will be a felony that comes with a punishment for the physician of up to two years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000.

The legislation was a top legislative priority for Nebraska Right to Life, a state affiliate of National Right to Life.

Nebraska joins 12 other states with the same ban on the procedure: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, North Dakota and Indiana.

“This brutal procedure has no place in a humane, civilized society,” Ricketts said during the signing ceremony on the steps of the Nebraska Capitol. Several pro-life leaders joined him for the signing, including the main sponsor of the measure, state Sen. Suzanne Geist. The governor thanked her and state lawmakers for “outlawing this barbaric practice in Nebraska.”

When she first introduced the bill, Geist called it “a brutal and unthinkable abortion” method “that has no place in modern medicine and is a horrible practice in our society.” Co-sponsors of the measure and Nebraska pro-life leaders called it “gruesome,” “barbaric,” “inhumane” and “immoral.”

As people of faith who respect all human life from conception to natural death, we are beyond saddened when we hear the description of this horrific procedure, which some still label as necessary.

We also agree with Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, who said, “This legislation protects unborn children from the brutality of being torn apart limb by limb.”

We believe the actions by Nebraska’s legislators and Governor Ricketts is providential because we are a month away from the annual fall 40 Days for Life campaign.

The campaign, which runs from Sept. 23-Nov. 1, is an international effort that seeks to end abortion through peaceful prayer vigils at abortion centers, and to raise community awareness of the consequences of abortion. An annual 40 Days for Life campaign also occurs each spring. This fall, 588 cities worldwide will take part, shattering the previous record.

During the 40-day campaigns, individuals silently pray during one-hour time slots in front of abortion centers around the world.

For those who think the petitions don’t make a different, think again: According to 40 Days for Life officials, since 2007 when the campaign began, 17,226 lives have been saved, 206 abortion workers have quit, and 107 abortion centers have closed. Talk about the power of prayer!

As in years past, there are 40 Days for Life sites located in central and southern Indiana and around the surrounding region for those interested in prayerfully standing up for life. All campaigns are in need of volunteers to sign up to pray.

The Central Indiana 40 Days for Life campaign will take place on the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 8590 Georgetown Road, in Indianapolis.

For more information or to sign up to pray, contact Tim O’Donnell at 317-372-0040 or idipsumsapere@att.net.

In Bloomington, the 40 Days for Life campaign will take place on the public right-of-way outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 421 S. College Ave. For more information or to sign up to pray, contact Deacon Russ Woodard at 812-526-9460 or deaconrussw@gmail.com.

For more information or to sign up at other sites, log onto www.40daysforlife.com and click on “Find a Campaign.”

Those who take part in 40 Days for Life campaigns are encouraged to follow the COVID-19 protocols in their local area. For most, that will mean wearing a mask and keeping 6 feet apart to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

We understand that our call to be missionary disciples presents many challenges in today’s ever-increasing secularist society, including being voices for the voiceless in many communities.

And we pray, as in years past, despite those challenges, this fall’s 40 Days for Life campaign bears much fruit.

—Mike Krokos

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