TYLER, Texas — A 40-day event that will place praying and fasting volunteers across the street from Planned Parenthood - Tyler Health Center is slated to begin next month.
For 12 hours a day from March 6 to April 14, participants of a local 40 Days for Life event will take part in an international campaign that calls for an end to abortion.
Although abortion procedures are not performed at the local facility, organizers said it’s important for the event to take place.
“We’re really blessed in East Texas because we generally have a pro-life culture, and it’s mainly due to a lot of the conservative evangelicals and the traditional Catholics in the area,” the Rev. Nolan Lowry, coordinator of the local campaign, said. “…The reason that we want to bring it to Tyler is that Planned Parenthood has opened a new office (in the medical district).
“The pro-lifers in the area were all concerned that even though they don’t do abortions — they refer to Dallas or to Shreveport — that they’re positioning themselves strategically in order to be able to offer abortions in the future,” he said.
An email to Planned Parenthood’s media team seeking comment was not returned as of press time.
During the campaign, organizers are aiming to have at least two volunteers present each hour for 12 hours a day to peacefully pray across from the center.
The nondenominational event is not a protest and there will be no shouting, chants or graphic or offensive signs.
“Forty Days for life is a prayerful witness of individuals outside abortion clinics or abortion referral centers that simply prays for an end to abortion and prays for those who work at those institutions for their conversion,” he said.
He added volunteers at the event pray that those who enter the building “choose life instead of taking the life of their unborn child.”
While volunteers will not approach those going into the clinic, they will have information they can share about Living Alternatives, a pregnancy resource center, and the organization CARE, which stands for Christ-centered Abortion Recovery and Education.
Lowry said the event serves several purposes.
“It reminds us that this is real,” he said. “It’s not just something we read about in the news. Also, for those going into these institutions (they will be) aware that there are those who are there praying — that we’re actually making the sacrifice.”
He said showing up at the physical location to pray is also important.
“I think that these kinds of prayers are stronger before God and his grace in changing hearts,” he said.