TYLER, Texas — Right to Life Smith County gathered at Bishop Tomas K. Gorman Catholic School's gym to kick off their 40 Days of Life campaign in hopes of converting hearts and minds of women or families seeking an abortion.
"It's all about peacefully praying and supporting these young moms or moms of any age that are already in a really scary situation," said BJ Garrett, keynote speaker and author.
The group's goal is to help women reconsider the termination of their pregnancy and turn to other options and resources like adoption instead of abortion.
Keynote speaker BJ Garrett knows the experience of abortion firsthand, having gone through it herself twice.
"I truly thought I was doing my baby a favor, doing the best thing for my baby by ending its life," Garrett said. "I chose abortion for the first time and it was awful; I cried from the moment that I walked in."
The abortion rate in Texas dropped 60 percent in the first month of the Senate Bill 8, also known as the heartbeat law, going into effect September 2021. The law restricts abortion once a woman reaches six weeks into a pregnancy.
Women who want to seek an abortion beyond the first six weeks of their pregnancy are forced to seek the procedure in neighboring states. With that, it leaves a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
"Our average client is someone who's already parenting, they're likely a Black woman, they're low income and have little or no access to health care insurance," said Kamyon Conner, executive director of Texas Equal Access Fund.
Whether a woman to get an abortion or not, the 40 Days of Life campaign hopes to give an open space for women to provide information, resources and prayer instead of judgment.
"The reality is, whether they choose life or choose to go with abortion. They're going to need love and support," Garrett said. "There are resources, and we're here to support you and to pray for you."
To learn more about the 40 Days of Life campaign, click here.