Shawn Carney, CEO and president of 40 Days for Life, stops by the studio to discuss the organization’s pro-life advocacy and outreach, its growth, and how it’s changing lives.
“We have two campaigns a year where we hold peaceful vigils outside of abortion facilities across the country and all around the world,” Shawn says. “We have a fall campaign and one in conjunction with Lent. The first one started in College Station, Texas. We did 40 days of prayer and fasting and 40 days of outreach. We did the first campaign there in 2004 and then we launched it nationally in 2007. Over the last 11 years, 40 Days for Life has gone from College Station to 750 cities in 50 different countries. It’s been beautiful, and we have fantastic support.”
Father Dave asks Shawn to explain the process of getting 40 Days for Life in a city. “We have a local leader that raises their hand and says I’ll lead a 40 Days for Life,” Shawn says. “We train them A-Z on how to do it, how to deal with media. These are wonderful folks; most of them are volunteers. And they hold these peaceful vigils for 40 straight days outside and sign people up. … There is usually just one location in each city.”
“About 25% of 40 Days leaders are women who have had an abortion,” Shawn continues. “It really shows the heart of 40 Days for Life. That, yes we are there for the babies and the women. We are also there for the workers. We have helped 177 abortion workers leave their jobs after they’ve had a change of heart.”
“In college, I wanted to be a lawyer,” Shawn says. “In high school, I had discerned the priesthood, and my spiritual director told me to go to college. I ended up marrying one of my good friend’s sisters. I’m from Tyler, Texas, and we didn’t have an abortion facility. And to my knowledge, I didn’t know anyone who had an abortion. It was when I went to A&M that I was introduced to this. I was going out to pray at abortion clinics. It just broke my heart to see my peers going in and coming out with abortions. … They’re going into this parking lot thinking that they have no other option than to pay a physician to kill their child, and that’s a dark place. And no one wants to be there. No one grows up wanting an abortion. So, the only people that really want to be there are the people that have decided they’re going to go out and be those hands and feet of Christ and give hope.” (Original Air 9-13-18)