Abortion foes begin 40-day vigil in Santa Cruz
SANTA CRUZ -- About 50 people stood in the parking lot at Cedar and Cathcart streets Tuesday with signs that read "Men regret lost fatherhood" and "Pray to end abortion."
They prayed aloud and sang spiritual songs to voice opposition to abortion.
The vigil, which drew people from several area churches, was the kickoff of to a national anti-abortion campaign called 40 Days for Life.
"We are here to pray for an end to abortion," Moss Landing resident Celia Meehan said. "We're concerned about how many, many women have abortions because they think that will solve their problems."
The campaign -- based in Fredericksburg, Va. and taking place in 237 cities across the country -- is centered on prayer, fasting, vigil and community outreach to draw attention "to the evil of abortion" and offer women alternatives.
The local group plans to hold a vigil in the parking lot behind the Santa Cruz Planned Parenthood from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Oct. 31.
Jason Farley, a pastor and Aptos resident, said the intent is to make women who enter the clinic aware of the group's presence without confronting them or offering any "sidewalk counseling."
"We're just a prayer group," Farley, 31, said. "The Christian church has had pro-life ministry for 2,000 years. For us, this is not something that comes up as a political battle. For us, it's a moral battle."
Some participants described their opposition to abortion in graphic terms.
They said reversing the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the U.S. would benefit the country because taking the life of a fetus is "killing an innocent life."
"A fetus is not a blob of tissue, it's not a clump of cells," Santa Cruz resident Gera Schmidt said. "At 8 weeks, they have perfect feet and are sucking their thumbs."
Tuesday's vigil drew a number of people who swarmed the sidewalk and heckled the group with loud, rude comments, often raising their voices to drown out the prayers.
The majority of those opposing the anti-abortion group declined to give their names, including a woman who held a sign that said "anti-life."
Santa Cruz police Sgt. Michael Harms watched over the event to ensure it stayed calm.
One of the counter-protesters was cited for littering when he dropped a cigarette butt.
Santa Cruz resident Jeff Norman, a computer programmer, said there was no point in engaging the counter-protesters.
"I'm here for the little kids who lost their lives," Norman, 49, said. "Why didn't they get the chance we did?"
Organizers say the 40-day campaign is based on the Bible, where God used 40-day periods to transform people and communities -- "from Noah in the flood, to Moses on the mountain, to the disciples after Christ's resurrection."
1) It's always irritating when people like this group want to take away that choice from women. STOP IT! They don't want one or need one? Don't get one.
2) If abortion becomes illegal and the number of children at orphanages and the foster care system increases, will the same proponents push for a law that anyone financially, emotionally, and mentally capable be able to adopt or make it easier for such persons to adopt, same-sex couples and single homosexuals included?
3) Someone asked a good question: "If abortion was illegal, what should be done with the women who have illegal abortions?" Hypothetically, for those women who decided to have an abortion, would they be exempt from the punishment because they did it before the law was passed? Have you also heard of any logical responses to this question? If the embed doesn't work, Youtube link's here.
Edit: 40 Days for Choice, the counter-effort. Thanks, phrenolepsy!