40 Days For Life campaign met with counter-protests

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COLUMBIA – People gathered at Columbia’s Planned Parenthood on Monday for a counter-protest against abortion opponents and the 40 Days for Life campaign.

According to the campaign’s Facebook page, 40 Days for Life is “a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion in America.”

“We are here for the women and the families. Our prayer teams are here just praying," 40 Days For Life advocate, Bonnie Lee said. "They are lifting up women who are caught in crisis." 

In response to the campaign, a group of abortion rights supporters, called the Guild of Silly Heathens, have a counter-protest planned once a week for the duration of this campaign, and each week has a different theme.

This week's theme is "Show Me Family Values."

The theme got its name because “we live in the Show Me State and the religious right likes to pretend that they have a monopoly on so-called family values, while in fact they are actively defunding programs which benefit families and children,” said abortion rights supporter, Renee Maxwell. “This includes access to healthcare and birth control.”

“We firmly believe that access to healthcare is an essential family value. We believe that a woman's medical decisions are private and bodily autonomy is a fundamental human right. We support and trust women with their own medical decisions,” Maxwell said.

Now that Columbia's Planned Parenthood will be offering abortions again, Lee says they will spend more time advocating for the 40 Days for Life campaign.  

“I don’t believe any woman wants an abortion. They feel trapped or they don’t know their options,” said Lee.

The campaign's goal is to offer assistance and help to woman, while also helping them with any other needs, like learning how to budget, cook or get a job. 

Others aren't in favor of the campaign, or those in support of it.

“There are proven strategies to reduce abortion: Increase access to birth control and comprehensive sex education,” Maxwell said. “Both of these strategies are actively opposed by Republican legislators. If people are opposed to the very strategies that have been proven to reduce abortions, they are not serious about reducing abortions; they are only serious about policing women's sexuality.”

Supporters of the 40 Days for Life campaign started their demonstration on September 27, and plan to be at the Columbia clinic until November 5.

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