For 40 days and 40 nights, a pro-life group will make a stand on Dominion Rd from Wednesday, March 1.
40 Days for Life is a prayer vigil that is run in the 40 days leading up to Easter, a time for preparation known to Catholics as Lent.
The vigil is coordinated by Family Life International (F.L.I), a Catholic pro-life and pro-family organisation that provides practical help to all women and girls facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Running in 40 countries across more than 600 cities, 40 Days for Life is known to have resulted in 83 abortion centre closures worldwide.
40 Days for Life is an internationally run and locally-coordinated organisation which believes that through prayer and fasting, community outreach and a peaceful vigil, abortion may come to an end.
For the first time, 40 Days for Life vigils in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will run 12 hours a day, every day for 40 consecutive days.
This will be the largest 40 Days for Life mobilisation ever seen in New Zealand.
Small groups of volunteers take it in shifts to hold a peaceful and prayerful vigil outside local abortion centres.
In Auckland, the vigil takes place across the road from the Auckland Medical Aid Centre (A.M.A.C) on Dominion Rd.
This will be the fourth year that this vigil has run in Auckland and it has always taken place outside the same abortion provider.
General Manager of A.M.A.C Lesley Wood feels that the vigil is “futile & unchristian”.
“It has no affect what so ever on the business,” says Woods, adding “it can make others angry and even more determined to exercise their legal rights. During these vigils, we receive lots more public support in the form of flowers, chocolates, good wish messages & phone calls.”
This is the second year that Michael Loretz has organised 40 Days for Life and says that it’s an “an awesome responsibility and privilege to give a public witness and to provide community outreach to vulnerable women in an effort to end the tragedy of abortion in our community.”
Loretz admits that “there have been tensions but the relationship seems to be civil most of the time.”
His hopes for this year’s vigil is “that hearts and minds will turn to God and that respect for life and a culture of life will return to our collective consciousness…It would be marvellous if a baby were saved.”
Chairman of the Board for 40 Days for Life, Matt Britton, has joined with the volunteers from America for the vigil’s opening nights and encourages them to “work to make abortion illegal but pray to make it unthinkable.”
Abortion is legal in New Zealand with the agreement of two certifying doctors. There is no legal age limit on having an abortion in New Zealand.
In the latest New Zealand abortion statistics in the year ended December 2015 from Abortion Supervisory Committee, 13,155 abortions were performed.
The report concluded that 18 percent of known pregnancies (live births, stillbirths, and abortions) ended in an abortion.