The 40 Days For Life campaign is currently taking place in 306 U.S. and Canadian cities through November 3rd, 2013. The most visible aspect is a peaceful prayer vigil outside an abortion facility, but other forms of activism can include face-to-face flyer distribution (respect No Soliciting signs if going door-to-door), public witness, petition drives, and table displays. Most of the facilities targeted for the vigils are Planned Parenthood clinics. During the current campaign, they project that, as of Day 13 of this year's campaign, they have saved 135 babies from abortion. They claim that during the six years they've been running this campaign, 41 abortion clinics have closed, and 83 abortion workers have quit.
If you do not have a Planned Parenthood clinic or abortion facility in your town, you can still conduct a 40 Days for Life vigil. But you will need to select a different location which has some strategic significance – perhaps near city hall, a courthouse, or a highly visible intersection. And if you intend to wear the 40 Days For Life mantle, you need to abide by their standards of behavior. For a believing Mormon, the latter should be no problem. If you cannot find time to physically participate, they accept donations.
Why is this so important? Here's a video by Alexander Tsiaras which graphically shows the process of human progression, beginning by showing an egg being fertilized and ending by illustrating a baby’s actual birth. The actual sequence of fetal development begins at 2:05:
Here are three reasons why it would be beneficial for members of the LDS Church to get involved in this campaign:
(1). It shows that we care about unborn human life. The current map shows a disturbing lack of pro-life activism in the most Mormon parts of the country -- Utah and Southeast Idaho. Only one vigil has been mounted in Utah. This needs to be corrected.
(2). It gives us the opportunity to show our detractors that we don't have horns and a forked tail. We show fellow Christians that we are indeed Christian, and we show social progressives that we are not racist, sexist, or homophobic.
(3). It gives us an opportunity to offer the fulness of the Gospel to others as the Holy Ghost prompts us. But this does not mean if we take part in a vigil that we immediately "spam" non-Mormons with the Gospel and shove the Book of Mormon at them. First, we show respect for the venue by doing THEIR thing. Then, after we've earned the confidence of our fellow activists and they ask us about our religion, we can tell them we're Mormon and answer any questions they might have. As LDS members, we display a disturbing tendency to view non-Mormons primarily as prospective converts. We must FIRST show a willingness to love and value non-Mormons just as they are. Above all, allow the Holy Ghost the opportunity to prompt us as to when, how, and to whom we extend an offer to learn the fulness of the Gospel.
And finally, here's the official LDS Church's position on abortion. We can accept therapeutic abortion after prayerful consideration, but we don't accept elective abortion, and Church members who undergo elective abortions may face a disciplinary council:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.
The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:
-- Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
-- A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
-- A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.
The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.