It was a summer day in Bogotá, Colombia, when Katharine Britton of Fredericksburg witnessed a young woman sobbing as she boarded a taxi in Teusaquillo, a neighborhood famous for its prevalence of abortion clinics.
“She was probably crying because she just had an abortion,” said Britton, the Latin American outreach director for 40 Days for Life and a third-year student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
She and her father, Matt Britton, board chairman of 40 Days for Life, went to South America over the summer to bring the organization to Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro. The organization’s premise is simple: Participants pray and fast outside of abortion clinics for 40 days, a method promoted for its “peaceful and educational presence.”
In a recent 40 Days for Life e-newsletter, Campaign Director Shawn Carney wrote the following to subscribers: “Your peaceful presence is the last — often unexpected — sign of hope. But for the women who go through the abortion, your presence is also the first sign of mercy. That is why it’s important to be there before, during and after the abortion.”
This year, the international campaign runs from Sept. 23 through Nov. 1, with groups in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Croatia, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia and, now, Colombia and Brazil, including a total of 307 cities.
By Christine Stoddard